King Charles III Crowned in Front of Guests Including Prince Harry, Emma Thompson, Katy Perry

King Charles III has been crowned alongside his wife Queen Camilla.

Although Charles ascended to the throne the minute Queen Elizabeth II died last year, the coronation is a ceremony to mark the formal investiture of his regal powers (such as they are in modern-day Britain).

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Prince Harry entering Westminster Abbey for his father King Charles III’s coronation (Toby Melville – WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Prince Harry entering Westminster Abbey for his father King Charles III’s coronation (Toby Melville – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Guests present at Westminster Abbey to watch the St Edward’s Crown lowered on to the King’s head by the Archbishop of Canterbury included Emma Thompson and her husband Greg Wise, Judi Dench, Stephen Fry, Lionel Richie and Katy Perry as well as members of the royal family, including the King’s sons Prince William and Prince Harry, his daughter-in-law Catherine, the Princess of Wales, his grandchildren Princes George and Louis and Princess Charlotte, and his siblings Princess Anne and Princes Andrew and Edward.

The 2,200-strong congregation who gathered to watch crown being placed atop Charles’ head also included politicians, aristocrats, international dignitaries, religious leaders and representatives from organizations supported by the King.

Katy Perry and Edward Enninful attending the coronation of King Charles III (Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)
Katy Perry and Edward Enninful attending the coronation of King Charles III (Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

One person notable by her absence was Prince Harry’s wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex. She instead remained in Montecito with the couple’s children Prince Archie, who is celebrating his fourth birthday today, and Princess Lilibet.

Politicians present included British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, culture secretary Lucy Frazer (whose department is involved in organizing the event) and seven of the previous Prime Ministers including Boris Johnson and Tony Blair.

Missing from the guestlist was President Joe Biden, who declined to attend, instead sending First Lady Dr Jill Biden in his stead. She was among international dignitaries from 203 countries including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, Vice President of China Han Zheng and Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Union Commission while royals from countries including Monaco, Japan, Sweden, Denmark and Jordan were also on the guestlist.

Emma Thompson arriving at King Charles III's coronation
Emma Thompson arriving at the coronation of King Charles III

There were also a number of familiar faces in the audience hailing from the worlds of media and entertainment. Among them were “I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!” hosts Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly, better known by their stage moniker “Ant and Dec,” adventurer Bear Grylls, “Absolutely Fabulous” star Joanna Lumley, singer Lionel Richie (who is also set to perform at the coronation concert on Sunday evening), Stereophonics frontman Kelly Jones, British Vogue editor Edward Enninful, designer Stella McCartney, “The Repair Shop” star Jay Blades and magician Dynamo.

Lionel Richie at the coronation of King Charles III ( Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
Lionel Richie at the coronation of King Charles III ( Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

Meanwhile Nick Cave was part of the Australian delegation alongside comedian Adam Hills and soccer player Sam Kerr.

Some of the celebrities were invited thanks to their links with Charles’ philanthropic organization The Prince’s Trust – Ant and Dec, Lionel Richie and Edward Enninful are all ambassadors for the charity – while others have been beneficiaries. Dynamo began his career thanks to a business loan from The Prince’s Trust, which bought him the camera and laptop he used to grow his global audience, while the Stereophonics received a grant from the charity at the beginning of their careers that enabled them to buy speakers for their live shows.

Meanwhile outside Westminster Abbey, crowds had been gathering since Monday to catch a glimpse of proceedings. On the ground around Buckingham Palace some royal watchers had camped out overnight, but most who rocked up around 5 a.m. were able to get a decent peek at the processions. A nearby viewing site at St. James Park also had plenty of space on its lawn for those who preferred to have a picnic with their viewing party and catch the Coronation on the big screen, with some royal fans perhaps deterred by the intermittently soggy weather.

The Prince and Princess of Wales, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis
The Prince and Princess of Wales, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis

Variety was on the ground for Queen Elizabeth’s funeral in September, and the change in atmosphere between the two events was markedly different — while the former was full of reverence and sobriety, Charles’ coronation was surprisingly upbeat with a relaxed and jubilant vibe among onlookers. There appeared to be little scepticism among the crowds about the future of the monarchy under  King Charles III, despite his varying popularity, and any discussion of the cost of living crisis bearing down on the U.K. was quickly shrugged off. Almost every single person in the crowd had likely been affected by it, but for coronation day, those anxieties were on hold. They were there for a party.

“Even though we’re in a period of quite serious difficult, right now, it’s quite necessary for people to have a pick-me-up,” Guy Cabral, a 25-year-old student from Oxford, told Variety.

Cabral, clad in a pistachio-coloured tweed suit, and his friend, Iona Fielding, 26, were dressed to the nines. “It’s a very important national occasion, so we wanted to least mark that in how we appeared,” said Cabral. “And we’ve also got a coronation tea afterwards with the Oxford and Cambridge Club, so we wanted to look nice.”

King Charles III is crowned
King Charles III is crowned in Westminster Abbey (Richard Pohle PA Pool/Getty Images)

American law student Shivani and her two friends were stationed north along the Mall, almost as close as one could get to Buckingham Palace. They hoped that they could get even closer when the area opened up post-procession and crowds were able to walk up to the palace gates for the royal family’s balcony appearance.

“It’s history in the making,” said Shivani. “We were here for the funeral, too. I think I would feel bad if I didn’t try to make it out here.”

The 26-year-old said that, as an American, she was removed from some of the wider social issues facing Britain, but could “definitely see the impact in my electricity bill.”

“It’s been interesting to see the wealth that’s poured into this event, but it’s also to hear from people who think it’s a great tradition. It’s been cool to see different points of view on that,” Shivani added.

However the coronation was not welcomed by everyone and controversially protestors were arrested in nearby Trafalgar Square before the coronation service even kicked off. Nick Cave felt compelled to explain his presence at the event in a blogpost titled “Why the fuck are you going to the King’s coronation?”

“I am not a monarchist, nor am I a royalist, nor am I an ardent republican for that matter,” he wrote. “what I am also not is so spectacularly incurious about the world and the way it works, so ideologically captured, so damn grouchy, as to refuse an invitation to what will more than likely be the most important historical event in the U.K. of our age. Not just the most important, but the strangest, the weirdest.”

“I hold an inexplicable emotional attachment to the Royals – the strangeness of them, the deeply eccentric nature of the whole affair that so perfectly reflects the unique weirdness of Britain itself,” he continued, adding he found himself welling up during the funeral of Charles’ mother, Queen Elizabeth II, last September. “I’m just drawn to that kind of thing – the bizarre, the uncanny, the stupefyingly spectacular, the awe-inspiring.”

Meanwhile Jay Blades, who recently hosted King Charles on an episode of his BBC show “The Repair Shop,” shared a snap of his royal invitation in an Instagram post last month, writing alongside it: “THOUGHT OF THE DAY. I am of the opinion that my Life belongs to the Whole Community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I LIVE. What do you Think?”

King Charles and Queen Camilla were ferried to the venue in a grand procession setting out from Buckingham Palace at 10.20am local time. The service lasted around two hours, ending around 1pm, before the couple returned to the palace in an elaborate golden state coach to make an appearance alongside their family on the famous Buckingham Palace balcony. There they received a royal salute from the military, a flypast by the Royal Air Force and numerous cheers from tens of thousands of people crowded outside the palace gates and all the way down the Mall.

On Sunday, a concert to mark the coronation will take place at Windsor Castle, the King’s residence just outside London.

Manori Ravindran contributed to this story.

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