RECAP | After 70 years, Britain crowns a new monarch

King Charles III.

Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images

News24’s royal reporter, Bashiera Parker, covered the coronation of King Charles III on Saturday, 6 May.

For many, witnessing the crowning of the British monarch is a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence.

She recaps the momentous occasion.

On Saturday, 6 May, I watched as King Charles III, along with his queen, Camilla, made his way from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey.

Seated inside the abbey were various members of the royal family, including Prince Harry, while the Prince and Princess of Wales, and their three children entered with the king and queen.

The coronation ceremony traditionally included the choir singing I Was Glad When They Said Unto Me.

The hymn has been paced in such a way that when Charles and Camilla entered the abbey after a 70-year wait, the overwhelming chant “Vivat Rex/Regina” echoed through the church.

Translated, it means: “Long live the king/queen.”

Britain's King Charles III walks wearing St Edward

Britain’s King Charles III walks wearing St Edward’s Crown during the Coronation Ceremony inside Westminster Abbey in central London on May 6, 2023. The set-piece coronation is the first in Britain in 70 years, and only the second in history to be televised. Charles will be the 40th reigning monarch to be crowned at the central London church since King William I in 1066. Outside the UK, he is also king of 14 other Commonwealth countries, including Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

The ceremony itself ran for two hours from 11:00 – 13:00 (12:00 – 14:00 in SA).

Charles was proclaimed the “undoubted King” before the congregation, he took an oath of service, and sometime later, after Prince William had too pledged his allegiance to his father and Charles was anointed with holy oil, St Edward’s Crown was placed on his head.

What followed was Camilla’s crowning, hours after the institution updated the royal website to reflect Camilla would no longer be referred to as Camilla, Queen Consort, but simply, Queen Camilla.

She bowed before the king, then took her seat beside him.

Once the coronation ceremony came to an end, the king, the queen, and members of the royal family followed as they made their way to Buckingham Palace in the Gold State Coach.

For the first time, King Charles III and Queen Camilla stood on the balcony at Buckingham Palace, where they waved to their subjects before viewing the Royal Air Force fly-past.

Saturday evening, the royal family would share the moment Charles and his queen looked out into the distance in an extraordinary photo captured by royal photographer Chris Jackson.

Queen Camilla, King Charles III

A handout photo taken and released on May 6, 2023 by Buckingham Palace shows Britain’s Queen Camilla and Britain’s King Charles III standing on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to view the Royal Air Force’s Red Arrows fly-past, following their Coronation Ceremony, in central London.

GALLERY | King Charles III’s coronation

The day included a few lighter moments, courtesy of the younger royals, as George, Charlotte and Louis stole the show on coronation day.

But it was hard to miss the anti-monarchy protests along the procession route that put a damper on an already wet and rainy day in London.

That said, royalists from around the world were well aware of the significance of witnessing Britain crown their first king and queen in 70 years.

South African, Caryl Hall, 55, and her teenage children, came out.

“I’m excited. There’s a good vibe, good atmosphere – friendly, happy, patriotic,” said Hall, draped in a flag with a plastic crown on her head.

“It was hard to wake up the teenagers but this is part of history.”

In videos shared, capturing the atmosphere as people made their way through the streets of London following the coronation, voices echo the chants heard in the abbey.

It’s a mix of cheer, jubilation and the words that filtered through the church as Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, lowered St Edward’s Crown on Britain’s new monarch after 70 years:

“God save King Charles. Long live King Charles. May the king live forever.”

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