King Charles III and Camilla, the queen consort, will be crowned at Westminster Abbey in London on Saturday — continuing a tradition that dates back more than 1,000 years.
They began their procession toward the coronation service at Westminster Abbey through Central London in a golden carriage led by six horses as thousands of cheering people lined the streets.
About 200 members of the British military are mounted on horses as part of the coronation procession, largely drawn from what’s known as the Household Cavalry Regiment. On either side of the route to Westminster Abbey, there are around 1,000 other soldiers, sailors and Royal Air Force personnel.
Charles and Camilla disembarked from their three-ton carriage at the Great West Door of Westminster Abbey, flanked by church officials and followed by a retinue of support staff dressed in red uniforms.
While bells rang outside, trumpets and singing filled the inside of the Abbey to mark the procession of Charles and Camilla through the nave and past a large choir before taking their seats at the start of the formal ceremony.
In his first spoken part of the ceremony, Charles said that he has come to “serve, not to be served” and to follow the example of the “king of kings.”
After being presented to the audience and repeatedly proclaimed as king, Charles swore a series of oaths that relate to his responsibilities in this new role.
A light rain had been falling over the course of the morning as thousands of people lined up along the procession route, many of them carrying British flags as they cheered and sang before Charles passes in an ornate carriage.
Inside Westminster Abbey, aristocrats, celebrities and leaders from a variety of Britain’s political parties arrived ahead of the ceremony. The congregation includes singers like Lionel Richie and Katy Perry, who will perform at a concert organized to celebrate the coronation this weekend.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will play a part in the proceedings, and several of his most senior ministers have also arrived for the ceremony, alongside the prime minister of Ukraine and Olena Zelenska, the wife of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Former British leaders including Liz Truss, Boris Johnson, David Cameron, Gordon Brown and Tony Blair also joined the thousands of other attendees inside the Abbey. U.S. First Lady Jill Biden is also among the guests.
Police arrest anti-monarchy protesters
On the edge of Trafalgar Square, several anti-monarchy protesters from a campaign group called Republic were arrested as they began unloading printed signs. The London Metropolitan police force has announced that a “significant operation” is now ongoing in the city center.
Tens of thousands had started gathering hours before the procession was expected to begin. Protesters against the monarchy were also expected.
Footage posted on social media appeared to show Graham Smith, the chief executive of the group, being arrested by police alongside five other demonstrators wearing T-shirts that read “Not My King.”
Republic criticized the action in response to what they called
peaceful protest, and said the police would not provide a reason for
More than 11,000 officers have been deployed across the capital on Saturday, and the force’s chief, Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley, had cautioned earlier this week that on the streets near the ceremony, there would be a “very low tolerance for disruption.”