King Charles greeted excited crowds gathering for his historic coronation this weekend as world leaders gathered on Friday for what will be the biggest ceremonial event to be staged in Britain for 70 years
Charles, 74, and his wife Camilla will be crowned at London’s Westminster Abbey in a glittering but solemn religious ceremony with traditions dating back some 1,000 years, followed by a procession, resplendent with pomp and pageantry.
Royal fans have already begun camping out on The Mall, the grand boulevard that leads to Buckingham Palace, and they were rewarded when Charles and his eldest son, Prince William, and the heir’s wife Kate staged an impromptu walkabout.
The royals were greeted by cheers of “hip, hip, hurrah!” and “God save the King!” as they greeted the well-wishers, many of whom had travelled from across the world.
There is not much sleeping going on, I hear,” William told one woman in the crowd, referring to the people staying in tents who have created a party atmosphere despite occasional heavy downpours. “I pray you guys stay dry.”
Earlier, Charles met leaders from the Commonwealth of Nations, the voluntary associations of 56 countries which he also heads, and held a lunch for prime ministers and royal representatives from the 14 other realms where he is head of state, including Australia and Canada.
Charles automatically became king when his mother Queen Elizabeth died aged 96 in September. The coronation, although not essential, is regarded as a hugely symbolic moment that legitimises the monarch in a public way.