| 6 December 2023, Wednesday |

King Charles’ coronation draws tens of thousands in paper crowns and plastic tiaras

Tens of thousands of people gathered in central London on Saturday, young and elderly, from all over the world and from Britain, attracted by the promise of what they claimed was the opportunity to witness a moment in history.

People lined the streets in the early morning hours to watch King Charles be crowned. This will be the first coronation in Britain in 70 years, and there will be a tremendous amount of pomp and splendor.

The coronation is taking place amid a cost of living crisis and public scepticism, particularly among the young, about the role and relevance of the monarchy, and its finances.

Charles, who had the longest wait for the throne of any British monarch, is not as popular as his mother, Queen Elizabeth, and his coronation is unlikely to draw the millions who thronged the streets to watch her crowning in 1953.

But polls show the public generally approves of Charles as king and a majority still support the monarchy, even if younger people are far less interested.

By 7 a.m. (0600 GMT) crowds on the grand Mall boulevard leading up to Buckingham Palace were 20-deep in places, with many wearing paper crowns and waving flags.

At Waterloo station, military divisions in ceremonial dress led by their marching bands disembarked from trains to make their way towards the palace.

Sam Mindenhall, a 27-year-old cafe worker from Bristol, south west England, said he thought Charles had sought to balance the tradition of a monarchy that dates back almost 1,000 years with the modern face of Britain, by referencing the country’s multiple faiths.

“I think a lot of the issues that he cares about are quite important,” he said, adding that Charles appeared to be “trying to be more inclusive and bring more people into our nation”.

Fabrizio, a 47-year-old who moved from Italy nine years ago, said he also thought Charles would do a better job of connecting with younger people, given his decades-long interest in environmental issues and support for many different communities.

“I think regardless of his age the king will reach out to younger people, I think he’ll be more connected to the youth than the queen,” he said.

  • Reuters