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Charles III crowned king — as it happened

Published May 6, 2023last updated May 6, 2023

Thousands gathered to witness the coronation of Charles III and his wife Camilla in a historic ceremony in London.

King Charles III sits while wearing the St Edward's Crown
King Charles III was crowned with St Edward's Crown by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin WelbyImage: Victoria Jones/REUTERS

This live updates article is now closed. Here is the recap: 

Charles III and Camilla were crowned at Westminster Abbey as King and Queen of the United Kingdom and 14 Commonwealth realms on Saturday. 

It was Britain's first coronation in nearly 70 years and the first of a king since 1937.

Foreign leaders, dignitaries and other royal families attended the ceremony, while thousands lined the route to witness the coronation procession.

Meanwhile, anti-monarchy protesters gathered in London, as well as in Glasgow in Scotland and Cardiff in Wales, with signs and flags that read: "Abolish the Monarchy," and "Not my King." 

London police said 52 people were arrested on suspicion of planning "disruption." 

Here are some key headlines about the king's coronation:

Zelenskyy thanks 'true friends of Ukraine' 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy noted in his nightly online video address that his wife Olena Zelenska and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal had attended the coronation in London. 

"On behalf of the entire Ukrainian people, I congratulate Their Majesties, true friends of Ukraine," Zelenskyy said. He wished Charles a long and successful reign and said that the ceremony marked the beginning of a "new era" for Britain's monarchy. 

"It was an honor for me to meet His Majesty personally in London," Zelenskyy said, recalling a visit in February. "I remember our conversation, I remember the sincere emotion for Ukraine and all Ukrainians." 

Police say 52 arrests made 

Londons Metropolitan police said 52 people were arrested in connection to anti-monarchy protests, saying they had information that some people would seek to deface public monuments with paint and disrupt "official movements."

"We absolutely understand public concern following the arrests we made this morning," Commander Karen Findlay of the London Metropolitan police said in a statement.

"Over the past 24 hours there has been a significant police operation after we received information protesters were determined to disrupt the Coronation procession."

A group campaigning to have the monarchy replaced said earlier on Saturday that protest organizers had been arrested by police.

"Organisers of the #NotMyKing protest have been arrested — police won't say for what," the group claimed in a Twitter post.

Anti-monarchy protesters want the monarchy replaced with an elected head of state and have been gathering at London's Trafalgar Square, although some have been seen brandishing yellow banners among the crowds lining The Mall.

"They've arrested six of our organisers and seized hundreds of placards, they won't tell us why they've arrested them or where they're being held," a Republic activist told AFP in London's Trafalgar Square.

Republic chief executive Graham Smith was one of those arrested before the group had a chance to wave placards declaring: "Not My King." Police did not confirm Smith's arrest.

DW's Birgit Maass said the organizers of the anti-monarchy protest had sent her a photo and said that two of their group have been arrested.

"They say their protest #NotMyKing was going to be peaceful and had been agreed with the police, and that they feel deprived of their democratic right," Maass said in a tweet. 

Scholz, in Kenya, lauds Charles' environmental credentials

While Germany's head of state, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, joined the pomp and pageantry in central London on Saturday, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was on a visit to Kenya. 

Visiting one of Africa's largest geothermal power plants, in a rare developing country that generates the majority of its electricity from renewable sources, Scholz praised the British monarch's longstanding advocacy for the environment and conservation issues, an area where he had been ahead of many politicians of his time. 

"For me, it was and is very important that he is someone who is committed to close cooperation between the United Kingdom and the European Union and who also has his own very important agenda to advance climate protection," Scholz said. "That will also help us." 

King Charles, Queen Camilla, watch flypast

The royal couple arrived at the Buckingham Palace balcony on Saturday afternoon, where they watched a Royal Air Force flypast.

Britain's King Charles and Queen Camilla, Prince George, Annabel Elliot, sister of Queen Camilla, and Fiona Mary Petty-Fitzmaurice, Marchioness of Lansdowne stand on the Buckingham Palace balcony following their coronation ceremony in London, Britain May 6, 2023.
Charles and Camilla, gathered with other members of the royal family on the Buckingham Palace balcony Image: Hannah McKay/REUTERS

King Charles III and Queen Camilla gathered on the balcony alongside other members of the royal family. They were seen waving at the crowds who gathered to greet them, and watch the flypast.

Cloudy skies forced the Defense Ministry to scale back the flypast, which was scheduled to include rare vintage aircraft. 

Defense Ministry scales down flypast due to weather

The British Defense Ministry announced shortly before the much-anticipated flypast that it would be scaled back due to "unsuitable" weather.

The flypast was originally set to consist of 60 aircraft, including the Battle of the Britain Memorial Flight — a collection of still-operable World War II-era fighters and bombers that do regular events in the UK, the Red Arrows, modern F-35s and Typhoons.

However, due to weather conditions, the Ministry of Defense scaled down the flypast to helicopters and the Royal Air Force aerobatic team The Red Arrows.

The flypast was due to last for two-and-a-half minutes.

Leaders congratulate the newly crowned king

Several leaders have offered their words of congratulation to Charles III.

European Union Commission President Ursula von der Leyen described the coronation as "a testament to the enduring strength of the British monarchy."

"A symbol of stability and continuity. My congratulations to King Charles III and Queen Camilla," von der Leyen said on Twitter. The European Commission chief was among those who attended the ceremony.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier also congratulated the new king.

"For the great task that has now fallen to you, I wish you much strength and a lucky hand," he said on Twitter.

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry offered its thanks to the whole of Great Britain for its support to Kyiv in the ongoing war.

"On the eve of the historic coronation, we'd like to thank our British friends for your friendship. We are grateful for your unwavering support and partnership, especially in the past year!," the ministry said on Twitter. 

US President Joe Biden hailed "the enduring friendship between the US and the UK" as a "source of strength for both our peoples." 

"I am proud the First Lady is representing the United States for this historic occasion," said Biden, who missed Saturday's ceremony.

China's President Xi Jinping also joined those offering congratulatory words to the king and queen. He said China was willing to expand cooperation and cultural exchanges with the UK, adding that both countries should jointly promote peace and cooperation, Chinese media reported.

Newly-crowned king and queen leave Westminster Abbey

King Charles and Queen Camilla have left Westminster Abbey and have now embarked on the coronation procession in the golden horse-drawn stage coach back to Buckingham Palace.

Thousands of people have lined the route, many waving flags and some wearing crowns themselves.

A little later the Charles and Camilla will receive a royal salute from the military in the palace gardens. They and other members of the royal family will appear on the palace balcony to watch a Royal Air Force flypast.

Charles III crowned King

Charles III has taken his oath and been crowned King in a ceremony witnessed by over two thousand guests and dignitaries in Westminster Abbey and millions more around the world. His wife Camilla has been crowned Queen.

Gun salutes sounded across the UK as St Edward's Crown was placed on the King's head by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.

Next in line to the throne, Prince William swore allegiance before kissing his father on the cheek.

Charles acceded to the throne on 8 September 2022, following the death of his mother, Elizabeth II.

World leaders among those witnessing coronation

Both former and current world leaders are among those who have gathered to witness the coronation of King Charles.

US first lady Jill Biden attended in the absence of President Joe Biden, while French President Emmanuel Macron was seen arriving with his wife Brigitte.

Other world leaders on the guest list included Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Canadian leader Justin Trudeau.

Germany's President Frank-Walter Steinmeier was among the over 2000 guests who included members of other royal households.

A host of former British prime ministers were also seen filing into Westminster Abbey including, Boris Johnson, Theresa May, David Cameron, Tony Blair and John Major.

French President Emmanuel Macron and wife Brigitte Macron
Over 100 heads of state accepted invitations to attend the coronationImage: Ben Stansall/AP Photo/picture alliance

Royal couple arrives at Westminster Abbey

King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla have arrived at Westminster Abbey, having traveled the route along which thousands of people have gathered to witness the coronation procession.

Guests and dignitaries from all over the world are seated and ready to witness their coronation at the Abbey, were crownings have taking place for nearly a thousand years.

The service is being conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.

For the crowning the Dean of Westminster will deliver St Edward’s Crown to the Archbishop of Canterbury, who will offer a blessing before King Charles is crowned. The Archbishop will lead the congregation of Westminster Abbey in saying, "God save The King."

Both Princes William and Harry are there for the event.

Royal carriage departs Buckingham Palace

King Charles III and his wife, Queen Consort Camilla have set off from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey in a horse-drawn royal carriage for the coronation ceremony.

Members of the British Armed Forces and thousands of people have lined the route of the coronation procession.

Various regiments and detachments of the three branches of the armed forces numbering 4,000 personnel are involved in the ceremony.

Members of the Household Cavalry are leading the procession to the Abbey.

King Charles and Queen Camilla arrive at Buckingham Palace

King Charles III and Queen Camilla have departed Clarence House in London and are making their way to Buckingham Palace where they will be preparing themselves for the procession to Westminster Abbey.

At 09.20 UTC the king and queen consort’s procession is expected to travel to the Abbey where the coronation is due to take place.

Britain's King Charles is seen in a car ahead of his coronation
Britain's King Charles and Queen Camilla have made their way to Buckingham Palace to prepare for the coronationImage: Paul Childs/REUTERS

Doors of Westminster Abbey opened

The doors of Westminster Abbey have been opened so that guests and foreign dignitaries can take their seats ahead of the coronation ceremony.

More than 2,000 people are expected inside the Abbey with representation from 203 countries and over 100 heads of state having accepted invitations to attend proceedings, among them Germany's Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

US first lady Jill Biden will be attending in the absence of US President Joe Biden.

King Charles along with the Queen consort will be making their way in procession from Buckingham palace to Westminster Abbey where they will be crowned at 10:00 UTC.

The coronation procession will be taking place along a 1.3 mile (2.09 kilometer) route. 

Large crowds expected, thousands of police deployed

In London, large crowds of royal fans have been building up during the week, gathering along The Mall outside Buckingham Palace.

It's an indication that the royals still occupy a central role in British culture and history.

Many who have been camping out to witness the coronation have flown in from abroad, highlighting the royal family's standing as Britain's leading global brand, despite a number of scandals over the years.

More than 11,000 police have been deployed in the capital, ready to respond to any attempted disruptions.

Thousands of personnel from the British Armed Forces are making their way to positions be part of proceedings, with troops seen arriving and moving on from London's Waterloo station.

They have been conducting overnight rehearsals on the streets of London in the days leading up to the coronation.

Crowds begin to gather along The Mall in London ahead of the coronation ceremony
More than 11,000 police have been deployed to central London to respond to any potential disruptionsImage: Niall Carson/empics/picture alliance

Controversy over royal jewels

In the runup to Saturday's events, controversy has broken out over the royal diamonds and other jewels that are expected to be on display.

Camilla, Queen Consort, will not wear the Koh-i-Noor diamond at the coronation of King Charles. Does this mean the UK may be close to relinquishing its rights over the celebrated diamond?

Days before the coronation of King Charles III, some South Africans called on the United Kingdom to return diamonds set in the crown jewels.

The world's largest clear-cut diamond was unearthed in 1905 and donated by the colonial government in South Africa to King Edward VII for his 66th birthday. It was cut up into several pieces, the largest of which is in the scepter the king will hold at Saturday's coronation.

What to expect on coronation day

The ceremonies and celebrations for King Charles III's coronation have been planned down to every last detail. 

Viewing areas along the parade route will open in the early morning, although some already staked out their spots overnight.

The coronation itself will take place at Westminster Abbey at 11:00 BST (10:00 UTC), including customs ranging back over 1,000 years — but with some modern twists.

Following the ceremonies, the newly crowned King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla will process back to Buckingham Palace in a golden coach. Other royals will join the parade along with 4,000 members of the British armed forces.

For more on what to expect today — and what they're having for lunch — read our article here.

rmt, kb,rs/msh (AP, AFP, Reuters)