The day before the coronation of King Charles III. and Queen Camilla, the preparations for the major royal event have reached their peak. The 74-year-old monarch and his wife, 75, arrived at Westminster Abbey in London early this afternoon for a final rehearsal. The king waved to onlookers who tried to catch a glimpse of the royal couple in the drizzle.
Barriers for the planned procession from Buckingham Palace to the church and back have been set up for days. A hard core of Royal fans have been hanging out at the track for days to secure a good spot. With ornate carriages in which the royal couple will travel and around 7,000 military personnel, the procession should make a big impression, although it is significantly smaller than that of Charles' mother Elizabeth II in 1953.
Weather forecasts are rather gloomy
Hundreds of thousands of onlookers are expected in London's Westminster district on Saturday. But it could be uncomfortable for her. According to the BBC weather forecast, there was an 80 percent chance of rain for the start of the procession at 10 a.m. (11 a.m. CEST). The chance that the Royal Air Force overflight could be canceled because of the weather was given as 50/50. More than 60 planes and helicopters are said to thunder over Buckingham Palace as the royal family waves from the balcony.
Concerned about "terrible shock" by Andrew
The recent royal scandals also cast a shadow over the historic event. Who exactly should be on the balcony was unclear until the end. Charles biographer Catherine Mayer did not want to rule out an appearance by the discredited Prince Andrew (63). Should Andrew be there, contrary to expectations, it would be a "terrible shock," said the author of the book "Charles III. - With the heart of a king" of the dpa.
Dispute over Harry continues to burden Royals
Charles' younger son, Prince Harry, is also not expected on the balcony. Like Andrew, Harry has also left the royal circle. The 38-year-old gave up his place at the core of the royal family of his own free will. He now lives with his wife Meghan (41) and their children Archie, who celebrates his fourth birthday on Saturday, and Lilibet (1) in the US state of California. His relationship with the other royals is considered broken. Harry wanted to travel to the coronation alone. His presence will make the question of the Abbey's seating arrangement tricky, Mayer said. In addition to the royals, about 100 heads of state are expected to attend the service.
"Grotesque error" in church service planning
The actual coronation ceremony in Westminster Abbey is said to last two hours. This includes the anointing of the king and queen and the installation of the crowns by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. The request to swear allegiance to the community and all viewers on TV screens could cause an embarrassing moment. The announcement of this had already triggered a shitstorm on social media. Many people refused to swear allegiance to the king, especially when asked to do so. Mayer described the idea as a "grotesque mistake" that shows how far the royals and their environment are from human reality.
Commonwealth areas want to get rid of monarchy
A recent survey showed that enthusiasm for the crown was limited, particularly in the areas of the Commonwealth. According to this, in many of the 15 states in which Charles is head of state, there is now a majority for the abolition of the monarchy. Anti-monarchy opponents outnumbered royalists in UK-owned Northern Ireland, Canada, Australia, Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, according to pollster Lord Ashcroft. In the Bahamas and the Solomon Islands, more than half of those surveyed stated that they wanted to vote for the abolition of the monarchy in a referendum. In the Caribbean in particular, support for the monarchy is crumbling. There, rejection is often combined with demands for an apology or even reparations for the injustices suffered at the hands of colonialism and slavery.
Possible handover to William
Given the challenges facing the monarchy, German aristocrat expert and author Alexander von Schönburg believes it is possible that Charles will one day hand over the regency to his elder son William. "Charles is a transitional king, and he knows that," von Schönburg told dpa in London. This does not have to mean that Charles resigns, but he could retire and hand over the most important tasks to William.
Prince William (r) greets well-wishers in front of Buckingham Palace.
The author of the recently published book "What remains, what will - the Queen and her legacy" estimates that it could be so far in ten years. Speak for the fact that William, who is now 40 years old himself, would then come to the throne with a certain freshness. It's too late for Charles for that. With his topics of climate protection, sustainability as well as religious tolerance and diversity, Charles foresaw the zeitgeist of today's youth, but hardly any followers in this group. On the other hand, he alienated his traditional supporters in the conservative milieu with his views.
William also has an "ace up his sleeve" with his wife, Princess Kate. Unlike Charles or his wife, Kate is down-to-earth because of her middle-class background. Even in personal dealings, she is anything but aloof. This will help lead the royal family institution, which depends on popular approval, into the future.