The UK celebrated the coronation of King Charles III with much pomp and jubilation over the weekend. and his wife Camilla. The celebrations were also accompanied by protests and criticism of the police crackdown.
At a historic ceremony with centuries-old elements, the 74-year-old monarch was donned the heavy, glittering Edwardian crown in front of 2,000 invited guests from all over the world and millions of television viewers.
Pomp and history at Westminster Abbey
Clad in royal robes, Charles took the coronation oath in the festively decorated church, was anointed with holy oil, and accepted an oath of allegiance from heir apparent William and his people. In addition to Charles, Camilla was also anointed and crowned Queen - an express wish of Queen Elizabeth II, who died last year.
Charles' second son, Prince Harry, came to his father's big day without his family and had to settle for a third-row seat. After allegations in several interviews and his memoirs, the ditch between Harry and Meghan to the royal family has deepened badly.
On the other hand, the children of William and Princess Kate were delighted - above all the five-year-old Prince Louis, who yawned heartily shortly after the coronation. Nine-year-old Prince George had a special role: he and three other boys served as his grandfather Charles' page of honour. The pompous outfits of other royals - such as Kate in a red and blue robe and a silver diadem - caused a stir.
With the gold carriage past wet fans
After the service, the newly crowned royal couple let themselves be celebrated by the masses: Charles and Camilla drove in the more than 260-year-old Golden State Coach - in a magnificent train with thousands of soldiers from the British Army and the Commonwealth States - back to the Buckingham Palace.
Many of the thousands upon thousands of Royal fans who cheered them on were already soaked by this point: from the morning it was pouring rain in London. Nonetheless, the square in front of Buckingham Palace filled before the Royal Family gathered on its balcony and waved to the crowds. Charles and Camilla even came back for a little encore after the first performance. Queen Elizabeth II is said to have given five encores 70 years ago.
Heavy police crackdown
However, the jubilation was also mixed with criticism of the police crackdown on demonstrators - several MPs expressed concern. The head of the Republic organization, Graham Smith, was only released from custody after 16 hours on Sunday night, and his mobile phone was confiscated. He criticized that there was no longer a right to peaceful protest in Great Britain.
The conservative government recently restricted the right to demonstrate again. At the coronation, a suspicion that there could be serious disturbances was enough for the police to take them into custody. In total, the London police arrested 52 people during the celebrations - according to activists in many cases without reason. Operations manager Karen Findlay, on the other hand, defended the procedure as proportionate, and government officials also praised the police for “balanced” behavior.
"Coronation Big Lunch" and concert on Sunday
On Sunday, the celebrations initially continued with street parties across the country. During the so-called Coronation Big Lunch, communities across the country organized neighborhood festivals, where residents and other guests often gathered at long tables for lunch and toasts together. A special recipe was even published for the festival: the "Coronation Quiche" with spinach, beans and tarragon.
"Whether this is your first Big Lunch or it's on the calendar every year, we send our best wishes to everyone involved," the newly crowned royal couple wrote in a message on the royal family's Instagram channel. "We hope it will be a great event for everyone." A spokesman for the palace also said the royal couple were "deeply touched" after the celebrations and grateful to everyone who contributed.
Charles and Camilla themselves were expected to attend the grand coronation concert at Windsor Castle that evening, where stars such as Take That, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie were to perform.