Tens of thousands of people, young and old, from Britain and throughout the world, gathered in central London on Saturday to watch history and celebrate.
People dressed in red, white, and blue and waving Union flags lined the streets early to attend King Charles’ coronation, Britain’s first in 70 years.
Different factors brought people together. Older tourists supported Charles and the monarchy, while others celebrated a new age. Younger onlookers wanted to see history and join a big celebration.
Antonina Strain, 53, traveled from Toronto with her sister Yvonne Havery, claiming she was born in London and returning for the coronation was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
“I couldn’t imagine the United Kingdom without a monarch,” she remarked. “It permeates the nation.”
The coronation comes amid a cost of living crisis and popular skepticism, especially among the young, regarding the monarchy’s function and finances.
Charles, who had the longest wait for the throne of any British monarch, is less popular than his mother, Queen Elizabeth, and his coronation is unlikely to draw millions as her 1953 coronation did.
Even if younger people are less interested in the monarchy, studies show that most people approve of Charles as king.
The Republic leader and other demonstrators were detained hours before the coronation.
The magnificent Mall promenade leading to Buckingham Palace was 20-deep, with people wearing paper crowns, plastic tiaras, extravagant costumes, and waving flags.
Sam Mendenhall, a 27-year-old café worker from Bristol, southwest England, said Charles had referenced Britain’s diverse faiths to balance the monarchy’s roughly 1,000-year history with its modernity.
“I think a lot of the issues that he cares about are quite important,” he added, adding that Charles was “trying to be more inclusive and bring more people into our nation.”
Given his decades-long interest in environmental concerns and support for numerous communities, 47-year-old Fabrizio, who arrived from Italy nine years ago, felt Charles would connect better with younger people.
“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 remarked.
Worcestershire resident Louise Fellows, 50, claimed she attended Queen Elizabeth’s funeral in London in September.
We had a great experience and wanted to return. I adore dressing up, the monarchy, and the atmosphere.”