The crowning of a monarch was the first thing that most people in central London could remember.
They came out before dawn to line a processional route that would be traversed two times during King Charles III’s coronation day through the heart of the royal parks, stretching from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey and back.
For the third time in less than a year, royal spectacles have played out in that very space, along similar routes, with all of the pomp and pageantry the public expects: first with the excitement at Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June, then with an outpouring of grief for her funeral in September, and now for the crowning of her son.
Every time, people have come out to watch. They range from royal fans to tourists who are just looking for a fun day out.
Early Saturday morning, Sarah Chappell, 23, and Zoë Boyce, 24, were having breakfast on a blanket in Green Park, along the procession route, as they waited for the festivities to begin.
“I am just intrigued,” Ms. Boyce said, describing herself as “not a big fan” of King Charles. “I think you can appreciate it without supporting it.”
“I think it’s just a day in history, isn’t it?” Ms. Chappell said, describing herself as an enthusiastic supporter of the royal family and the monarchy. She said she had come for the queen’s funeral last year and wanted to be there again this weekend to soak up the crowd and the vibe.
As a steady rain fell throughout the morning, many people were soaked while waiting for the two procession to arrive at Westminster Abbey.
The lucky ones who managed to secure a seat on the specially-built stand outside Buckingham Palace on the day of his coronation were the first to see the king as he rode by in a gold carriage.
“God Save the King,” Britain’s national anthem, played, setting the stage before Charles and Queen Camilla made their way past, and those in the crowd in the stands chanted, “Hip, hip, hooray!” as the royal couple waved.
The stands were crowded with public servants of all kinds, including veterans and National Health Service employees. The Mall that stretches in front of Palace was lined with thousands of people who wanted to see the festivities. The coronation took place at the abbey a little more than a mile from the palace. However, the rain and cold made the atmosphere tense as a radio transmission of the ceremony was broadcast over the crowd.
Nicola Ford and Mikey, a 37-year-old student nurse from Sussex, who work for the ambulance services, came to London to take part in the celebrations on Saturday. Arriving too late to get into the Mall, they went to Hyde Park instead to soak in the atmosphere.
“It’s seeing everyone, watching it and hearing everyone cheer,” Mr. Walker said. “It’s the chance of a lifetime, isn’t it?”
“The public are really supportive of Charles,” Ms. Ford added. “He’ll be a very respected king.”
This was not an opinion that was shared by all on Saturday. Protesters in Trafalgar Square wearing yellow T-shirts and holding signs reading “Who voted for him?” chanted, “Not my king.”
Some people were angry at the anti-monarchy demonstration. “Do they expect a republic to be better?” said Stephen Morse, 62, who came to London from Birmingham for the coronation. “Imagine having Boris Johnson as head of state.”
Police had warned that they would not tolerate any disruptions. A few protesters were arrested.
But for the crowds who came for a royal shindig, the day crescendoed into something they have come to know well — a wave from the members of the Royal House of Windsor from the balcony of Buckingham Palace.
And although they may still be getting used to the family’s new makeup, with a king at the helm for the first time in over seven decades, the public rushed up the Mall, filling the length The following are some examples of how to get started: width of the avenue. As the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team known as the Red Arrows flew overhead, they cheered their newly anointed monarch and shouted out in unison, “God save the king.”
Saskia Solomon and Emma Bubola Contributed reporting
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