King Charles III and Queen Camilla crowned in London: NPR

LONDON – King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla were officially crowned king and queen during a coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey on Saturday, the first since his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, in 1953.

Charles and Camilla began their procession from Buckingham Palace through central London towards the coronation in a golden carriage led by six horses.

Around 200 members of the British Army were mounted on horses as part of the procession. Around 1,000 soldiers, sailors and Royal Airmen lined both sides of the road leading to Westminster Abbey.

They disembarked from the three-tonne carriage at Westminster Abbey’s Great West Door, flanked by church officials and followed by a retinue of red-uniformed supporters.

As the bells rang outside, trumpets and singing filled the interior of the abbey to mark their procession through the nave, passing a large choir before taking their seats at the start of the formal ceremony.

In his first speech of the ceremony, Charles said he had come “to serve, not to be served” and to follow the example of the “king of kings”.

After being given an audience and repeatedly proclaimed king, Charles made a series of promises regarding his responsibilities in this new role.

In his address to the congregation, Britain’s most senior cleric, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, told those present and those watching on television at home, “We are here to be crowned a king, we are here to be crowned a king to serve.”

Welby was then used to formally anoint Charles with blessed oil. As the choir sang again, Charles removed several layers of his clothing and entered behind a curtain where he was anointed with oil, hidden from public view but close to the altar.

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A number of symbolic items including centuries-old swords and spurs were presented to Charles in the minutes before his coronation.

Charles sat serenely on a 700-year-old wooden throne, a heavy crown held by two gold bars. Archbishop Welby shouted “God save the King” and the crowd responded, before a trumpet blast.

Prince William, a senior member of Britain’s clergy and son of Charles, pledged allegiance to the king before the audience responded with “Long live the king.”

Shortly afterwards Camilla was crowned Queen, and sat in identical chairs with her husband as the choir began to sing.

Thousands of people lined the procession route, many of them carrying British flags, as Charles cheered and sang before being driven off in a decorated carriage in a light morning rain.

Inside Westminster Abbey, dignitaries, celebrities and leaders of Britain’s various political parties arrived ahead of the ceremony. The congregation included singers such as Lionel Richie and Katy Perry, who are set to perform at a concert organized to celebrate the coronation this weekend.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak read a passage from the Bible and several of his senior ministers attended the ceremony at Westminster Abbey, along with Olena Zelenska, the Prime Minister of Ukraine and the wife of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Former British leaders including Liz Truss, Boris Johnson, David Cameron, Gordon Brown and Tony Blair were also present. US First Lady Jill Biden also attended.

Anti-monarchy protesters were arrested by the police

At the edge of Trafalgar Square, several anti-monarchy protesters from a campaign group called Republic were arrested before the march when they began to unload printed placards. London’s Metropolitan Police Force has announced that a “significant operation” is currently underway in the city centre.

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Tens of thousands had gathered hours before the procession was expected to begin. Anti-monarchy protesters were also expected.

Footage posted on social media showed the group’s chief executive, Graham Smith, being arrested by police alongside five demonstrators wearing T-shirts that read “Not my king”.

The Republic criticized the response they called for
He said the protest was peaceful and the police would not divulge the reason

More than 11,000 officers were deployed across the capital on Saturday, and the force’s chief commissioner, Sir Mark Rowley, had warned earlier this week that there would be “very low tolerance for misconduct” on streets near the festival.

NPR’s Lauren Frayer and Don Clyde contributed to this post.

NPR will update this post throughout the festivities.

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