Charles III on Saturday was crowned king after taking the solemn oath to govern the people of the United Kingdom with “justice and mercy” and to foster an environment where people of all faiths and beliefs can live freely.
“I come not to be served, but to serve,” said the monarch as the congregation cheered “God save the king.” The moment was the main highlight of an elaborate ceremony that is being followed by thousands of citizens under an intermittent rain in London and millions of viewers on their screens.
The Archbishop of Canterbury placed the hefty gold and jewel-studded St. Edward’s crown on the head of Charles midway through the two-hour service. The crowning is the centerpiece of the coronation and it’s the only time during his reign that Charles will wear the solid gold crown.
Afterwards, Charles swapped the 2.08-kilogram (4.6-pound) crown for the Imperial State Crown, which weighs about half as much, for the procession back to Buckingham Palace. Camilla was also crowned in a simpler ceremony.
King Charles III, Queen Camilla and members of the royal family later appeared on Buckingham Palace’s balcony to greet a cheering crowd.
The royal couple were flanked by Charles’ son and first in line to the throne, Prince William, his wife Kate, and their children. Also on the balcony were two of Charles’ siblings, Princess Anne and Prince Edward.
The Red Arrows, the Royal Air Force’s aerobatics team, wowed the crowds as they flew past and left red, white and blue trails in the sky.
King Charles III and Queen Camilla left Westminster Abbey after their coronation and began making their way back to the palace inside the Gold State Coach, in a procession where nearly 4,000 troops were taking part. Crowds weathering chilly rain waved flags while the king and queen waved back from the shelter of the Gold State Coach. Mounted troops led the way as 4,000 armed service members marched through central London. It was the largest military procession in the city since the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.
Earlier in the morning, crowds had been milling outside Buckingham Palace to catch a glimpse of Charles and Camilla. The Diamond Jubilee State Coach carrying Charles III and Camilla first arrived at Buckingham Palace, then headed to Westminster Abbey, where Charles swore to rule according to law and to defend the Protestant faith of the Church of England.
Police reported seven arrests as republican protesters prepared to stage demonstrations against the monarchy. One of the detainees is said to be Graham Smith, head of the UK’s leading republican movement.
People who camped overnight overnight for a view of the royals awoke to cloudy skies that gave way to sun and some light rain. Soldiers in distinctive red tunics and bearskin hats are lining the Mall in front of Buckingham Palace, where hundreds of royal fans have braved wet weather and gathered early to secure the best viewing spot.
Fans carrying flags and clad in the colors of the Union Jack were arriving by train in London hours before the ceremony that begins when Charles and Camilla, queen consort, depart from the palace in a gilded horse-drawn carriage.
The church buzzed with excitement and was abloom with fragrant flowers and colorful hats. Invited guests streaming into the abbey including recognizable celebrities such as Judi Dench, Emma Thompson, Lionel Richie and Nick Cave, and others including judges in wigs, soldiers with gleaming medals attached to red tunics and members of the House of Lords in their red robes.
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