King Charles III was crowned on May 6 in Westminster Abbey, the site of British coronations since the Middle Ages. Around 2,200 guests from 203 countries attended, including members of the king’s family, world leaders, foreign royals, and celebrities. The entire event was elaborate and steeped in tradition.
It began when King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla left Buckingham Palace in a luxurious State Coach and headed for Westminster Abbey. They were escorted by hundreds of members of the armed forces and representatives from the Commonwealth nations. The streets were packed with people hoping to catch a glimpse of the king.
Upon his arrival, Charles III entered Westminster Abbey with great ceremony. The congregation pledged allegiance to the King, after which Charles took a solemn oath, promising to uphold his duties as monarch. He was then given the orb and sceptres, which symbolize his power and responsibilities. During the ceremony, he wore lavish vestments with high-sounding names, such as the Colobium Sindonis, the Supertunica and the Imperial Mantle.
Finally, the King was crowned by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The crown, known as St Edward’s Crown, is 360 years old, weighs almost five pounds, and is adorned with 444 jewels. At the end of the ceremony, the king donned a different crown, the Imperial State Crown, considered a ‘working crown’ that is lighter, yet studded with 2,868 diamonds.
After the ceremony in the Abbey, the King returned to Buckingham Palace in a two-hundred-year-old coach covered in gold leaf, escorted by around 4,000 members of the armed forces. Once back at the Palace, the King and the Queen Consort saluted the crowd from the balcony.
Not everybody was cheering, though. During the ceremony, anti-monarchy demonstrators protested in London and 52 of them were arrested. Republic, Britain’s largest anti-monarchy group, tweeted: “Instead of a coronation we want an election. Instead of Charles we want a choice. It’s that simple.”
1) Have you ever attended a formal ceremony? For example, have you ever taken part in a public or religious ceremony, a wedding or an inauguration? Describe the ceremony and write about your personal experience of the event.
2) According to a YouGov poll, 58% of British people prefer the monarchy, while 26% would prefer an elected head of state. The poll indicated that the over-65s were the most likely to favour the monarchy (78%), while 18–24-year-olds were the least supportive (32%). Why do you believe there is such a difference of opinion between generations?
(Image: Wikimedia Commons)