Charles III crowned UK king

Queen Camilla also gets crown in historic first coronation since 1953

Charles III was crowned monarch of the United Kingdom and 14 Commonwealth realms on Saturday at Britain’s first coronation for 70 years, during a ceremony steeped in a millennium of ritual and spectacle.

After a lifetime as heir to his late mother Queen Elizabeth II, Charles, 74, became the oldest sovereign yet to be crowned at London’s Westminster Abbey.

At 12:02 pm (1102 GMT), Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby placed the solid-gold St Edward’s Crown on Charles’s head as a sacred and ancient symbol of the monarch’s authority.

GOD SAVE THE KING. Britain’s King Charles III wearing the Imperial state Crown, and Britain’s Queen Camilla wearing a modified version of Queen Mary’s Crown wave from the Buckingham Palace balcony after viewing the Royal Air Force fly-past in central London on May 6, 2023, after their coronations.

Welby also crowned Charles’s wife, Queen Camilla, 75.

Cries of “God Save the King” rang out from the 2,300-member congregation, which included foreign royalty and political leaders.

US President Joe Biden, represented at the abbey by First Lady Jill Biden, tweeted his congratulations and paid tribute to the “enduring friendship” between the United States and Britain.

Several world leaders, including Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., attended the ceremony.

“We underscore the thriving relationship between the Philippines and the United Kingdom, which has been promising in increasing trade, investment, and cultural exchanges for the Filipino people,” Mr. Marcos said after a royal reception hosted by King Charles Friday evening.

Trumpet fanfares sounded along with gun salutes across Britain and beyond.

Returning to Buckingham Palace in the day’s second horse-drawn parade, the royal family appeared on the balcony to applause and more chants of approbation from tens of thousands of well-wishers braving a spring downpour.

Members of the royal family pose on the balcony, but noticeably without Price Harry and his uncle, Prince Andrew.

Some had camped out for days. A ceremonial fly-past was scaled down due to the weather.

Much of the Anglican service, in which Charles pledged “I come not to be served but to serve,” would have been recognizable to the 39 other monarchs crowned at Westminster Abbey since William the Conqueror in 1066.

But while many of the intricate rituals and ceremonies to recognize Charles as his people’s “undoubted king” remained, the sovereign sought to bring other aspects of the service up to date.

Female bishops and choristers participated for the first time, as did leaders of Britain’s non-Christian faiths, while its Celtic languages – Welsh, Scottish Gaelic and Irish Gaelic – featured prominently.

A gospel choir sang for the first time at a coronation while a Greek choir intoned a psalm in tribute to Charles’s late father, Prince Philip, who was born on the island of Corfu.

As king, Charles is supreme governor of the Protestant Church of England and has described himself as a “committed Anglican Christian.”

But he heads a more religiously and ethnically diverse country than the one his mother inherited in the shadow of World War II.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos share a light moment with King Charles during Friday night’s reception at Westminster Hall.

As such, he sought to make the congregation more reflective of British society, inviting ordinary members of the public to sit alongside the VIPs.

In another change, the coronation themes mirrored his lifelong interest in biodiversity and sustainability.

Seasonal flowers and foliage were brought from the wind-battered Isle of Skye in northwest Scotland to Cornwall at the tip of England’s southwest coast to fill the abbey.

Ceremonial vestments from previous coronations were reused, and the anointing oil – created from olives on groves on the Mount of Olives and perfumed with essential oils – was vegan.

Charles was anointed out of sight of the congregation behind a three-sided screen in front of the abbey’s High Altar, to the strains of Handel’s soaring anthem “Zadok the Priest,” sung at every coronation since 1727.

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