It’s the first coronation in 70 years, and the pomp was on full display.
The royal couple arrived at Westminster Abbey in the modern Diamond Jubilee State Coach, which was first used in 2014 and features power windows, air conditioning and shock absorbers.
As the king and queen traveled the 1.3-mile procession route, onlookers caught their first glimpse of the monarchs, decked out in antique robes of state that were worn by their predecessors at prior coronations.
Prince George, the eldest son of Prince William and his wife, Kate, served as a page boy, helping to make sure his grandfather’s robe didn’t get dirty after he stepped out of the carriage.
Prince Harry arrived wearing a morning suit with gray trousers, rather than military dress. Harry and his wife, Meghan, stepped down from official royal duties and are embroiled in a public rift with Harry’s father and brother.
A diverse group of faith leaders representing the Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, Bahai and Zoroastrian communities were the first to enter into the abbey.
The guest list, though shorter than Charles’s mother’s seven decades earlier, includes an array of world leaders, first ladies, diplomats and celebrities. President Biden was not in attendance, but first lady Jill Biden arrived at the abbey in a light-blue suit and gloves, along with her granddaughter, Finnegan Biden, wearing yellow.
During the service, Charles put his hand on the bible and took the coronation oath. Hidden by a screen for privacy, he was anointed with holy oil on his hands, chest and head — the only moment of the ceremony not visible to attendees or the public.
King Charles III and Queen Camilla are crowned
Charles then received symbolic, bejeweled items from the coronation regalia: gold spurs, swords, bracelets, an orb, a ring, a glove, a scepter and a rod. And in the climax of the ceremony, the 361-year-old, solid-gold crown was placed upon Charles’s head, to the sound of trumpets and cheers of “God save the king!”
Next, it was Camilla’s turn to be crowned and receive a scepter and ring, in a moment that captured her unlikely transformation from Charles’s “other woman” to his queen.
The coronation procession
After the ceremony, the newly crowned king and queen made their way out of the abbey to a different carriage: the Gold State Coach, used to transport every newly crowned monarch since William IV in 1831. It’s apparently a bumpy ride.
Princess Anne, playing the role of “Gold-Stick-in-Waiting,” rode on horseback behind the king and queen as they made their way to Buckingham Palace, followed by 6,000 members of the armed services marching down the Mall.
The Prince and Princess of Wales traveled in a separate carriage, along with their children, George, Charlotte and Louis. In a sign of the lingering family feud, Prince Harry was spotted getting into a car alone after the ceremony.
To cap the official celebration, Charles and Camilla appeared on the back balcony of Buckingham Palace to wave at the crowds below. The pair were surrounded by their grandchildren, along with Prince William and Catherine, Princess of Wales — next in line to be crowned — and the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, Charles’s younger brother, Edward, and his wife, Sophie. These are the “working royals,” charged with carrying out official duties on behalf of the crown.
In a heartwarming moment, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis also waved to the crowds.
Missing from this scene were Prince Harry, who has been publicly critical of his royal family, and his uncle, Prince Andrew, who was sued by a woman over sexual abuse allegations.
As the royals stood in the balcony, jets streaked overhead, in a flyby that was truncated due to the weather.
And with that, the coronation came to a close.