Watch live: King Charles III and Queen Camilla are crowned as ceremonies continue
Updated May 6, 2023 at 9:23 AM ET
LONDON — King Charles III and Camilla, the queen consort, were officially crowned king and queen during a coronation ceremony Saturday at Westminster Abbey, the first coronation there since his mother's, Queen Elizabeth II, back in 1953.
Charles and Camilla began their procession toward the coronation from Buckingham Palace through Central London in a golden carriage led by eight horses as thousands of cheering people lined the streets.
About 200 members of the British military were mounted on horses as part of the procession, largely drawn from what's known as the Household Cavalry Regiment. On either side of the route to Westminster Abbey were around 1,000 other soldiers, sailors and Royal Air Force personnel.
They disembarked from their three-ton carriage at the Great West Door of Westminster Abbey, flanked by church officials and followed by a retinue of support staff dressed in red uniforms.
While bells rang outside, trumpets and singing filled the inside of the Abbey to mark the their procession through the nave and past a large choir, before taking their seats at the start of the formal ceremony.
In his first spoken part of the ceremony, Charles said that he has come to "serve, not to be served" and to follow the example of the "king of kings."
After being presented to the audience and repeatedly proclaimed as king, Charles swore a series of oaths that relate to his responsibilities in this new role.
In his address to the congregation, the most senior clergyman in Britain, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, told those there and those watching on television at home that "we are here to crown a king and we crown a king to serve."
Welby later blessed oil that would be used to formally anoint Charles. As the choir sang again, Charles removed several layers of his robes and entered behind a screen where he was anointed by the oil, hidden from public view, but close to the altar.
Over the course of several minutes, Charles was presented with several symbolic items, including swords and spurs, many centuries old, ahead of his crowning.
The heavy crown was placed on Charles' head as he held two golden rods — one in each hand — as he sat silently upon a 700-year-old wooden throne. Archbishop Welby shouted "God Save the King," and the those gathered responded in kind, before thundering trumpet fanfare.
The most senior members of Britain's clergy and Charles' son, Prince William, pledged allegiance to the king before the audience replied with "may the king live forever."
Camilla was crowned as queen shortly after, and sat alongside her husband in identical chairs as the choir began to sing.
A light rain had been falling over the course of the morning as thousands of people lined up along the procession route, many of them carrying British flags as they cheered and sang before Charles passed in an ornate carriage.
Inside Westminster Abbey, aristocrats, celebrities and leaders from a variety of Britain's political parties arrived ahead of the ceremony. The congregation included singers such as Lionel Richie and Katy Perry, who will perform at a concert organized to celebrate the coronation this weekend.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak read a passage from the Bible, and several of his most senior ministers also attended the ceremony at Westminster Abbey, alongside the prime minister of Ukraine and Olena Zelenska, the wife of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Former British leaders including Liz Truss, Boris Johnson, David Cameron, Gordon Brown and Tony Blair also attended. U.S. first lady Jill Biden also attended.
Police arrest anti-monarchy protesters
On the edge of Trafalgar Square, several anti-monarchy protesters from a campaign group called Republic were arrested before the procession as they began unloading printed signs. The London Metropolitan police force announced a "significant operation" in the city center.
Footage posted on social media appeared to show Graham Smith, the chief executive of the group, being arrested by police alongside five other demonstrators wearing T-shirts that read "Not My King."
Republic criticized the action in response to what they called
peaceful protest, and said the police would not provide a reason for
More than 11,000 officers were deployed across the capital on Saturday, and the force's chief, Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley, had cautioned earlier this week that on the streets near the ceremony there would be a "very low tolerance for disruption."
NPR's Lauren Frayer and Don Clyde contributed to this post.
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