King Charles III’s coronation is taking place today in London, with millions expected to watch the ceremony in the U.K. and around the world.
Crowds of thousands have gathered in central London to greet the King and Queen Consort Camilla on their journey from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey, and to watch the ceremony on big screens.
Camilla, Charles’ wife of eighteen years, will also be crowned Queen alongside the King.
Just after 10.20am Charles and Camilla left Buckingham Palace to travel to Westminster Abbey in an elaborate black and gold carriage known as the Diamond Jubilee State Coach. They moved along the 1.3 mile “Kings Procession” route through central London. Crowds lined the route, braving a light drizzle.
Hundreds of thousands of Brits are also expected to celebrate later today at street parties and in pubs, which have been granted a special license to stay open two hours late for the occasion.
Not everyone shares in that jubilation. Anti-monarchy sentiment in the U.K. has grown in recent years amid a string of royal scandals, with 25% of Brits now saying the country should have an elected head of state, up from 17% a decade ago. Several protests are planned around the country, including at Trafalgar Square in London, just a mile away from Westminster Abbey.
A series of arrests were made ahead of today’s coronation service, including Graham Smith, the leader of anti-monarchy group Republic, over their plans to go over the barrier as part of anti-monarchy protests.
Charles became King immediately upon the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, in September 2022, ending his almost three quarters of a century as Prince of Wales and heir to the throne. At 74, he is the oldest monarch ever to take the throne.
The coronation is the formal celebration of Charles’ ascent to the throne. Buckingham Palace says the event will retain the “longstanding traditions and pageantry” seen at Queen Elizabeth’s own coronation in 1953. But elements of the ceremony have also been modernized to reflect the evolved position of the monarchy in British society. The ceremony will last one hour, compared to three hours for Queen Elizabeth.
Some 2,20o people will attend the coronation in person. The guest list includes royals, politicians, and celebrities from around the world.