King Charles III was crowned at Westminster Abbey in London, on a day of ancient ceremonial and military spectacle that painted the nation’s millennium history.
Global leaders and foreign royals on Saturday attended the event at the Abbey – the site of royal coronations since William the Conqueror ascended the throne in 1066 – at the start of a holiday celebrate.
The ceremony, the first since Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne in 1953, was attended by some 2,000 guests. King Charles was crowned at 12:02 before the shouts of “God save the king”. Queen Camilla was crowned soon after.
The ceremony was chaired by Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury. Charles III was supreme governor of the Church of England as well as monarch of Great Britain and the 14 Commonwealth kingdoms.
As a reminder of England’s turbulent religious past, the monarch opened the ceremony with an oath: “I, Charles, solemnly and sincerely profess, testify and declare before God, before God, that I am a staunch Protestant.”
Rishi Sunak, prime minister of the United Kingdom, read a passage from the Epistle to the Colossians and the congregation chanted: “Christ saves King Charles.” However, leaders of several faiths in England played a role in the ceremony.
The face of England has changed dramatically since Queen Elizabeth’s coronation. Sunak is a Hindu while Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, and Humza Yousaf, Scotland’s first minister, are Muslim.
Before his coronation, King Charles was anointed by the archbishop – away from public view – with holy oil from Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.
About 7,000 service members gathered in London ahead of the largest military parade in 70 years, many of them arriving at Waterloo station in full dress.
Other events will include a military flight of 60 planes and the royal family will appear on the balcony of Buckingham Palace at around 2pm to greet the crowd.
Rain fell during much of the procession and ceremony, similar to the weather conditions welcoming the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.
The whole country gets a Bank Holiday weekend to mark the event, and street parties are planned around the country.
The ceremony was surrounded by a huge security presence. The head of the Republican advocacy group, Graham Smith, was arrested in Trafalgar Square. The group said five other protesters were also arrested while removing banners near the coronation route. “Too much for the right to peaceful protest,” the group said.
Event organizers have also been planning for the possibility of protests aimed at world leaders.
A suggestion by the Archbishop of Canterbury, that the public should be invited to participate by swearing allegiance to the king, caused controversy.
Jonathan Dimbleby, broadcaster and friend of King Charles, said he thought the king would find the idea “disgusting”. On Saturday, it was confirmed that the wording of the service would be changed.
Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York, told the BBC that “invitations” had changed and people would be asked to express their support for the king “in a slightly different way”.
London has been steadily filling up with foreign visitors over the past week. On Friday, the King hosted a reception at Buckingham Palace for foreign royals and other guests, including US first lady Jill Biden and Olena Zelenska, Ukraine’s first lady.
Sunak said the coronation was a “moment of extraordinary national pride”.
It is a proud expression of our history, culture and traditions. A vivid demonstration of the modern character of our country. And a cherished ritual through which a new era is born.”