King Charles III was anointed and crowned on Saturday in Britain’s biggest ceremonial event in seven decades in a 1,000-year-old pageant.
Charles, 74, automatically succeeded his mother as king of the United Kingdom and 14 other realms including Canada and Australia when Queen Elizabeth died last September.
In front of a congregation of around 100 world leaders and a television audience of one million, the spiritual head of the Church of England slowly placed the 360-year-old St Edward’s Crown on Charles, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the spiritual leader of the Anglican Church, slowly placed the 360-year-old St Edward’s Crown on Charles’ head as he sat upon a 14th-century throne in Westminster Abbey.
Gun salutes were fired at the Tower of London and across the capital, the nation, in Gibraltar, Bermuda and on ships at sea. “God save King Charles. Long live King Charles. May the king live forever,” the congregation at the abbey said after a trumpet fanfare.
During the solemn two-hour service, elements of which date back to the time of King William the Conqueror in 1066, Charles’ second wife Camila was also crowned queen.
Charles’ eldest son and heir Prince William, 40, knelt before his father to pledge his loyalty as his “liege man of life and limb”.
Much of the ceremony featured elements that Charles’ forebears right back to King Edgar in 973 would recognise, officials said. Handel’s coronation anthem “Zadok The Priest” was sung as it has been at every coronation since 1727.
A massive military parade ensues, gun salutes, thousands of soldiers giving three cheers, and the King and Queen waving their hands from Buckingham Palace balconies to the cheering crowds gathered on Mall Boulevard. When shaken, a scaled-down military aircraft flew by.