Charles III Is Crowned King

On Saturday, Charles III of Britain was crowned king in a ceremony that blended eighth-century rituals with 21st-century elements, featuring the kind of majestic pageantry not seen since his mother, Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953.

Charles declared, “I come not to be served, but to serve,” in his opening remarks, setting the tone for the ceremony that was both intimate and grand. The 74-year-old king was anointed with holy oil, signifying the divine aspect of his reign, adorned with an imperial mantle, and crowned with the ancient St. Edward’s crown by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Following the service, Charles and Camilla will travel back to Buckingham Palace in the same golden stagecoach used by Elizabeth for her coronation procession.

In spite of the rain, tens of thousands gathered in central London for a chance to see King Charles and Queen Camilla, who journeyed from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach, accompanied by four divisions of the Household Mounted Cavalry regiment.

Even for a nation familiar with royal spectacles, Saturday’s post-coronation procession will be unparalleled, featuring 19 military bands, and 4,000 troops, and spanning a mile from the palace gates. The royal family will observe from the balcony as over 60 aircraft—including fighter jets, helicopters, and WWII-era Spitfires—soar overhead in a customary grand finale of a royal celebration.

Here are some key aspects of the coronation events:

During the ceremony, Charles pledged to uphold the Church of England. However, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Justin Welby, urged the king to “foster an environment in which people of all faiths and beliefs can live freely.” This is one of several alterations to the liturgy, as both the church and Buckingham Palace aimed to modernize the 1,000-year-old service for today’s diverse world.

The roughly 2,300 attendees at the ceremony encompassed new faces, long-established lineages, global leaders, popular music icons, and more—a reflection of Charles’s efforts to embrace a contemporary, multicultural Britain while maintaining the monarchy’s dynastic identity.

Despite years of familial discord, Prince Harry attended his father’s coronation alone. His wife, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, remained in California with their children, Prince Archie, who turned 4 on Saturday, and 1-year-old Princess Lilibet.

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