King Charles III has been crowned King today – in the historic first Coronation in 70 years – having prayed to be a ‘blessing’ to people of ‘every faith and conviction’, and serve his millions of subjects in Britain and around the globe.
Charles became the 40th reigning sovereign to be crowned at Westminster Abbey, dating back to William the Conqueror in 1066, as Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby placed St Edward’s Crown on his head.
The King then looked emotional as Prince William paid homage to him, in a break with tradition, kneeling to give an oath of allegiance to his father. He said: ‘I, William, Prince of Wales, pledge my loyalty to you and faith and truth I will bear unto you, as your liege man of life and limb. So help me God.’ He then stood, touched the crown and kissed the King on the cheek. Charles was moved as he nodded to his son, and said ‘amen’.
The historic crowning watched around the globe, was a fulfilment of the King’s destiny, but followed the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, last September after a 70-year reign. Minutes later Camilla was crowned.
The monarch and his wife Queen Camilla smiled to the congregation as they walked through the church for a Christian ceremony that dates back 1,000 years on a day dripping with glorious displays of pageantry.
The monarch had been heir to the throne since the age of three and was ready to finally embrace his day of destiny with the woman he loves by his side.
As Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s coronation anthem was sung, the Queen was officially enthroned. The enthroning of the Queen was a moment in which Charles and Camilla were ‘united in their joint vocation before God’.
Before his crowning moment the King was anointed with holy oil away from public view. He was dressed in a white linen garment called Colobium Sindonis, a golden coat called the Supertunica and has had the coronation girdle placed around his waist.
After being sanctified at his anointing, the King was presented with the coronation regalia. Minutes earlier Charles swore on the Bible and kissed it, having taken the oath: ‘I, Charles, do solemnly and sincerely in the presence of God profess, testify, and declare that I am a faithful Protestant, and that I will, according to the true intent of the enactments which secure the Protestant succession to the throne, uphold and maintain the said enactments to the best of my powers according to law.’
His family were sat closest to him in a 2,300-strong congregation, although Prince Harry was sat in the third row, away from Prince William, his wife and children, and other working royals.
The Duke of Sussex was seen in the television footage watching intently as the archbishop raised St Edward’s Crown above his father’s head before crowning him.
And when a few minutes later the congregation paid homage to the new monarch, Harry was seen, along with the other royals around him, speaking the words: ‘God save King Charles. Long live King Charles. May the King live forever.’
The national anthem had played and crowds shouted God Save the King as Charles took their 1.3mile journey from Buckingham Palace to the Abbey through streets lined with 2million people and 7,000 British troops.
The two-hour service, pared back from his mother’s in 1953, is a pivotal moment in the history of the Royal Family will balance ancient tradition and a future in the 21st century.
In it Charles became the first monarch to pray publicly at a coronation – praying for grace to be ‘a blessing to all… of every faith and belief’, and to serve after the pattern of Christ.
A special personal prayer was written for the King to reflect the ‘loving service’ theme of the service, and the words were inspired in part by the popular hymn I Vow To Thee My Country.
He said: ‘God of compassion and mercy whose son was sent not to be served but to serve, give grace that I may find in thy service perfect freedom and in that freedom knowledge of thy truth. Grant that I may be a blessing to all thy children, of every faith and belief, that together we may discover the ways of gentleness and be led into the paths of peace; through Jesus Christ our lord. Amen.’
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak read The Epistle – Colossians 1: 9-17 to the congregation.
Lambeth Palace said that although Mr Sunak is a Hindu, he is reading as Prime Minister so there is no issue over his personal faith during the Anglican service.
Prince George and the other pages of honour were sitting behind the King in Westminster Abbey as Charles swore the coronation Oath.
George’s gaze could be seen flitting about the church from his seat behind his grandfather.
The prince and his fellow pages then stood behind the kneeling Charles, holding the corners of his trailing robe, as he prayed.
The King then signed copies of the Oaths, presented by the Lord Chamberlain, while the choir sang.
At the beginning of the coronation service, a Welsh language piece was sung with the choir, together with Sir Bryn Terfel, singing Kyrie Eleison.
As the bells of Westminster Abbey rang out, the King and Queen left the carriage. Camilla got out first followed by Charles after a short pause outside the church.
The King waved and spoke to his grandson Prince George, a future king, who was among the pages of honour. His parents the Prince and Princess of Wales entered the abbey last before the royal couple arrived.
As he arrived for the two-hour service, the Abbey’s bells peeled as crowds stood in the rain cheering the arrival of the King and his wife. The entered the Abbey to state trumpeters, with the congregation standing as the royal couple entered.