The long-awaited coronation of King Charles III and the Queen Consort is set to take place on Saturday, marking the first such ceremony in 70 years.
Despite the forecasted rain, crowds have already begun to gather along the procession route, while a massive security operation is underway in central London with 100 heads of state expected to attend. However, not all are celebrating the event, with protests promised by those opposed to the monarchy, a BBC report stated.
Preparation and Planning
Months of intense preparation and planning have gone into the coronation celebrations, which will be the 40th to take place at Westminster Abbey since 1066.
The service, which will last almost two hours, will be witnessed first-hand by 2,300 guests, including Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, who arrived from the United States on Friday.
It will also be the first time since the release of Prince Harry's memoir that he will have been seen in public with his brother, Prince William, the Prince of Wales.
Security Measures and Protests
With 100 heads of state expected to attend, a massive security operation is underway in central London to ensure the safety of all participants. Protests have also been promised by those who oppose the monarchy, adding another layer of complexity to the event. Despite the heavy security presence, the UK authorities are preparing for potential disruptions and have urged demonstrators to express their views peacefully and respectfully.
The Coronation Route
The coronation procession will start at Buckingham Palace and will proceed along The Mall, Horse Guards Road, Whitehall, and Parliament Square before finally arriving at Westminster Abbey. The route has been meticulously planned to ensure the safety of participants and spectators alike, and it will be lined with thousands of well-wishers hoping to catch a glimpse of the royal couple.
Crowds Begin to Gather
Despite the forecasted rain, crowds have already started to gather along the procession route, with many camping out overnight to secure a good spot.
The BBC report quoted a couple of campers outside who exuded excitement for the coronation. While a set of friends held a banner of 'Coronation Street' another group of a mother and her daughters were painting people's faces for free.
The Royal Walkabout
On the eve of the Coronation, the King looked relaxed as he went on a walkabout on The Mall, flanked by the Prince and Princess of Wales and a heavy security detail. The public was delighted to see the new King and Queen Consort up close, and it added to the festive atmosphere surrounding the event.
Celebration of Diversity and Inclusion
On the 9th of September 2023, King Charles III will be crowned at Westminster Abbey in a ceremony that promises to be a celebration of diversity and inclusion. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will preside over the service, with guests ranging from US First Lady Jill Biden to President Macron of France and entertainers Ant and Dec.
Optional Allegiance Pledge
Controversy has arisen over whether people at home will be asked to pledge their allegiance to the King. However, the Church of England has made it clear that this is entirely optional, and people may instead have a private moment of reflection.
The high point of the ceremony will come when the St Edward's Crown is placed on the King's head, a moment that will be marked by the Abbey bells being rung and a gun salute in nearby Horse Guards Parade. The keynote message of the Coronation from King Charles is in his first prayer when he reaches the Abbey, which reads: "I come not to be served, but to serve."
Camilla will be crowned alongside Charles, and after the couple's long and often complicated relationship, she will now be officially described as "Queen Camilla."
Diversity and Inclusion
The ceremony will emphasize diversity and inclusion, with more multi-faith elements than any previous coronation, with contributions from Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and Sikh representatives. A Bible lesson will be read by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who is Hindu, and music will be sung in Welsh, Scottish and Irish Gaelic. Women bishops will also be taking part in the service for the first time in a coronation service that goes back almost a thousand years.
Procession and Balcony Appearance
After the service, at around 13:00 BST, King Charles and Queen Camilla will travel in the Gold State Coach back to Buckingham Palace in a spectacular mile-long (1.6km) procession, with 4,000 soldiers and 19 military bands. Meticulous rehearsals for the procession were carried out by marching around a replica route with landmarks such as the Cenotaph marked out with traffic cones.
When they reach the Palace, it remains uncertain who will be seen with the King and Queen for the traditional balcony appearance. There are plans for a flypast when the senior royals are on the Palace balcony, but there will be concerns about the weather, with a forecast for cloud and showers.
Security and Protests
The run-up to the Coronation has also seen a number of vocal protests from anti-monarchy groups - and the Republic campaign group has announced its intention to hold a protest on the route of the procession. There will be a massive security operation, with the Metropolitan Police putting 11,500 officers on duty in what it says will be its biggest ever single-day deployment. Anti-monarchy groups have defended their right to protest, but the police have warned that "tolerance for any disruption, whether through protest or otherwise, will be low."
The guest list has also been disputed, with criticism of the presence of Chinese vice-president Han Zheng, accused of presiding over a crackdown on civil liberties in Hong Kong. But this will be a ceremony played out before a huge global audience, with TV crews from all over the world arriving in London. They will see pageantry, religious symbolism and ancient traditions, with King Charles III crowned in a 700-year-old Coronation chair, in a ceremony that most people will never have seen before in their lives.
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