- By Sean Coughlan, royal correspondent and James Gregory
- BBC news
The King’s coronation, the first in the UK in 70 years, is taking place at Westminster Abbey.
A military band played the national anthem as the King and Queen departed from Buckingham Palace, and the crowd erupted into thunderous cheers.
In the convent, Charles was proclaimed “King for sure” during the early stages of the ceremony.
The congregation was then asked to show their respect and service, while shouting “God save the king”.
The coronation ceremony begins at 11:00 BST and will last about two hours, with the main theme being service.
That theme is reflected in the oaths and prayers King Charles made, as well as the sermons by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.
“I have not come to be served, but to serve,” the King said in his first prayer after arriving at the Monastery.
“We are here to crown a King, and we crown a King to serve,” the Archbishop opened his homily.
He added: “The King of kings, Jesus Christ, was anointed not to be served but to serve. He created unchangeable law, with the privilege of power and duty. serve”.
Between the music and the vows, however, there are moments of complete silence as each stage of the ancient ceremony comes to an end.
In the holiest part of the ceremony, the King was shielded from public view with an anointing of oil while singers sang Handel’s Zadok the Priest – performed at every coronation since 1727.
Famous guests were also present – including actress Emma Thompson and American singer Katy Perry.
US First Lady Jill Biden and her granddaughter Finnegan arrived in a three-car convoy. President Joe Biden is not in the UK.
French President Emmanuel Macron and Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska were also present at the monastery, as were Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and leaders of Commonwealth countries.
When the King arrived at the monastery in his Diamond Jubilee State Coach on Saturday morning, he was seen smiling and waving.
After the ceremony, the King and Camilla will return to Buckingham Palace.
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, arrived from the United States on Friday on a commercial flight and was seen entering the monastery with his cousins Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice.
This is the first time he has appeared in public with his brother, Prince William, since his memoir Spare was released.
It is thought Prince Harry will fly back to the US just hours after the ceremony to reunite with his wife Meghan, as their son Archie is celebrating his fourth birthday.
On the parade route, umbrellas began to emerge when it rained.
But despite the very British weather, there was a celebratory atmosphere in the Mall, with periodic Mexican waves and cheered police officers and security guards.
Among the audience was Alexandra Hornyak, 57, from Montreal, Canada.
“I’ve known for years that I wanted to attend this day, and on the day it was announced I was driving to the office when my husband called me and said ‘May 6’,” she told the BBC. .
“I know exactly what it is. And I called to book a hotel room and we went from there.”
Karen Daly, 54, from Birmingham, said: “We could do this at home, but the atmosphere is good and everyone is really happy.
“When the Queen passed away, we couldn’t attend because we couldn’t all take time off work. So we hit the road as soon as we learned of the coronation.”
Charles became King of Great Britain and 14 other kingdoms in September, when his mother Elizabeth died after 70 years on the throne.
Months of intense planning went into the coronation – the 40th coronation took place at Westminster Abbey since 1066.
Unlike the procession route, there were no crowds outside the monastery, as it was closed before the ceremony.
The service is led by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, with support from the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “There have been drills through the wall this week, and indeed last week.
“None of us have done this in a long time, so the choreography is complicated.”
The culmination of the ceremony will come when St Edward’s Crown is placed on the King’s head, a moment that will be marked by the sound of abbey bells and salutes during the nearby Horse Guards Parade.
The ceremony will emphasize diversity and inclusion, with more multi-faith elements than any previous coronation, with contributions from Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and Sikh representatives.
A Bible lesson will be read by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who is a Hindu, and music will be sung in Welsh, Scottish Gaelic and Irish.
There will be female bishops taking part in the ceremony for the first time in a coronation that dates back almost a thousand years.
After the ceremony, at around 13:00 BST, King Charles and Queen Camilla will ride in the Gold State Coach back to Buckingham Palace, in a spectacular one-mile (1.6 km) procession, filled with 4,000 soldiers. musicians and 19 military bands.
When they arrived at the palace, it was still uncertain who would be seen with the King and Queen in the traditional balcony apparition.
There are plans to fly over as senior royals are on palace balconies, but there will be weather concerns, with cloudy and showers forecast.
What else is happening across the UK on Coronation day?
The coronation also drew a small group of protesters from the Republic, the group that campaigned for the abolition of the monarchy.
About six protesters unloading a truck with a banner on the north side of the square were arrested.
There will be a large-scale security operation, with the Metropolitan Police putting 11,500 officers on duty in what they say will be the largest deployment ever in a single day.
Anti-monarchy groups have defended their right to protest, but police have warned that “tolerance for any disruption, whether through demonstration or otherwise, will be very low”. .
The guest list was also questioned – with criticism over the invitation of China’s vice-president Han Zheng, who is accused of presiding over a crackdown on civil liberties in Hong Kong.
There is also some controversy over whether those staying at home were required to pledge allegiance to the King.
The Church of England has made it clear that this is completely optional – and that people can have a “moment of private reflection” instead.
Additional reporting by Marie Jackson, Alys Davies and Aoife Walsh.
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