Archbishop of Canterbury crowns King Charles III in the UK

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Charles and Camilla waving to the crowd from a balcony at Buckingham Palace.
Image: Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
Charles and Camilla in the State Coach.
Image: DCMS.

File:Flag Celebrating the Coronation of King Charles III in Bexley High Street.jpg

A flag commemorating the coronation in Bexley, near London, April 9.
Image: Doyle of London.
(Image missing from Commons: image; log)

Saturday, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby crowned King Charles III as sovereign of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms; Charles' wife, Camilla, was crowned Queen Consort in the Westminster Abbey, London ceremony.

Charles became king on September 8, when his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, died, so the coronation was symbolic, though the government planned it for months.

The BBC estimated the ceremony, which Welby presided over, lasted two hours, shorter than Elizabeth II's 70 years ago, with 2300 people attending, including foreign dignitaries and diplomats.

"I come not to be served, but to serve," Charles said at the beginning of the coronation. At 74, Charles was the oldest person to ascend to the British throne.

Welby anointed Charles with holy oil behind a screen lifted by soldiers, while a choir sang Zadok the Priest, part of every British coronation for almost 300 years.

Although the ceremony was followed the Anglican traditions of the Church of England, it was the first representatives from Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Judaism, and Islam attended.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak read from the Bible. Songs in Irish, Scottish Gaelic, and Welsh were also part of the proceedings.

Welby placed St Edward's Crown upon Charles' head while he sat in the Coronation Chair, with the Stone of Scone placed underneath it.

Prince William who is heir to the throne, kissed his father's cheek and pledged loyalty. Charles' second son, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, was also in attendance, though without his spouse, Meghan.

After the crowning, attendees shouted: "God save the King!" Gun salutes rang out across the kingdom.

Afterwards, Charles and Camilla traveled to Buckingham Palace in the horse-drawn Diamond Jubilee State Coach, escorted by soldiers, along streets lined by thousands of onlookers.

Anti-monarchy groups were also present, including Republic, advocating for an end to monarchy. According to the Metropolitan Police, it arrested 52 when they arrived to protest. The Met had advised they would take a 'low tolerance' approach to disruptions of the ceremony.

Human Rights Watch said, "the reports of people being arrested for peacefully protesting the coronation are incredibly alarming," and added it was "something you would expect to see in Moscow, not London."

The police actions were justified, said Commander Karen Findlay: "Our duty is to do so in a proportionate manner in line with relevant legislation."