Charles crowned UK king today; PBBM tours London Gatwick airport

PBBM IN UK. As Britain prepares for the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. arrives in the United Kingdom on Friday with Speaker Martin Romualdez. While at Gatwick airport, the President met with its officials and a representative of the King, who toured him around the second busiest airport in the world. AFP with PCO photos

London—Britain’s first coronation in 70 years takes place on Saturday, with Charles III crowned king in an elaborate Christian ceremony steeped in solemn ritual and more than a millennium of history.

The coronation, the first of a British king since 1937, is the religious confirmation of his accession after the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, last September.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. arrived at London’s Gatwick airport on Friday with the First Family from the United States, just in time to attend the reception hosted by the king at Buckingham Palace for visiting heads of state and VIPs.

While at Gatwick airport, the President met with its officials and a representative of the King, who toured him around the second busiest airport in the world. AFP with PCO photos

Mr. Marcos is also expected to meet with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak as part of efforts to deepen Manila and London’s trade partnership, the Presidential Communications Office said.

The President’s trip, following his “productive” visit to the United States, is in response to the invitation provided by the United Kingdom to Mr. Marcos as relayed by UK Ambassador Laure Beaufils.

Before leaving Washington, the President said his family will land at Gatwick Airport, where he will take the opportunity to check on some “lessons learned” by local airport officials and apply them to improving the Philippines’ major airports.

Much of the Anglican service at London’s Westminster Abbey — which will also see Charles’s second wife Camilla crowned queen — would be recognizable to the 74-year-old king’s forebears 1,000 years ago.

But there will also be a clear departure with the involvement of women bishops, minority faith leaders, and a more diverse and representative guest list of British society than the lords and ladies of old.

So too is the environmental theme at the ceremony, including vegan anointing oil and recycled ceremonial garb, reflecting Charles’s lifelong championing of sustainability and biodiversity.

Prime Minister Sunak on Friday called the event “a moment of enormous national pride”.

“It’s a demonstration of our country’s character, and it’s an opportunity for us to all look to the future and a spirit of service, hope, and unity,” he told Sky News.

AFP with PCO photos


Not everyone is in the mood to celebrate, however. Republican opponents who want an elected head of state plan to protest on the day with signs declaring “Not my king”.

Younger people, too, say the coronation — and the monarchy in general — leaves them cold, according to polling.

Further afield, Charles’s position looks increasingly tenuous as the hereditary monarch in 14 Commonwealth countries outside the UK. AFP

Australia, Belize, and Jamaica are already indicating moves toward becoming republics while Charles is also facing calls to apologize for his ancestors’ involvement in colonialism and the slave trade.

Back home, political leaders will be hoping the coronation will show Britain at its best, going some way to repair the country’s international standing dented by its exit from the European Union.

The presidents of France and Germany and senior EU leaders will be among the 2,300 guests attending, along with global royalty.

Despite torrential downpours on Friday and forecasts of a wet weekend, royal fans have been camping out on The Mall leading to Buckingham Palace, to secure a prime view.


Carol Fairfax, 54, her eight-year-old son Charlie, and her sister Karen Chamberlain, 57, traveled from Birmingham in central England kitted up with tents and sleeping bags.

“It’s so exciting,” charity worker Chamberlain told AFP.

“Our mother came to London in 1953. Being here is a way to say we are proud of the monarchy. Hopefully, we’ll still be here when (Charles’s heir) William becomes king,” she said.

Rail commuters are getting a regal reminder over the weekend to “mind the gap” between the platform and the train: Charles and Camilla have recorded a message to be played at train stations across the country.

But the celebratory mood and the opulent display of jewels, crowns, and gilded coaches sit uneasily with many Britons struggling due to the rising cost of living, plus widespread strike action for better pay.

“We are not living the same life. At this time people are struggling,” Eden Eawit, 38, told AFP in north London.

“I cook only two days a week, I eat only sandwiches. Some people are not eating at all. It is very hard,” she said.


Much of the final taxpayer-funded bill, widely estimated to be upwards of £100 million ($126 million), is likely to come from the huge security operation.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said, however, that global interest “more than repays the expenditure that goes with it”.

UKHospitality, a trade body, said the three-day coronation weekend, which includes a public holiday on Monday, could generate £350 million for the sector including pubs.

All the stops have been pulled out for the biggest display of British pomp and pageantry in decades, outstripping the queen’s state funeral last September.

In all, around 7,000 military personnel — from mounted troops to marching bands — will take part in a parade rehearsed with minute precision.

Charles and Camilla will travel from Buckingham Palace in the Diamond

Jubilee State Coach, then back along the same route in the older Gold State Coach after the two-hour service at the abbey.

At the palace, they will take a salute from members of the armed forces, then watch a ceremonial fly-past from the balcony with other members of the royal family.

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