The Coronation of King Charles III: History Is Made as Monarch Is Officially Crowned

King Charles III
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In a ceremony long on pomp and circumstance, with a few modern touches, the coronation of King Charles III was held Saturday as the world watched.

For the first time in 70 years, Great Britain has crowned a new monarch.

The formal ceremony of King Charles III assuming the throne began at 11 a.m. local time (6 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time). The official ceremony was held inside Westminster Abbey, where every British queen and king has been crowned for more than 900 years.

First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, along with her granddaughter, Finnegan Biden, are representing the United States at the coronation.

About 2 million people turned out to witness the long-anticipated festivities. There were 2,300 written invitations sent to official guests. Protesters holding signs saying "Not My King" marched near Trafalgar Square.

London's Metropolitan Police tweeted Saturday that they had made "a number of arrests" near Carlton House Terrace, with those individuals being held on suspicion of breaching the peace. 

Official warning letters were sent to anti-monarchists in the days before the coronation, saying new criminal laws had been passed to prevent disruptions during the ceremony.

Protesters have recently disrupted public appearances by King Charles, including a scare earlier this week when police arrested a man after gun cartridges were discovered on the grounds of Buckingham Palace.

Under the new laws, protesters who block roads, airports and railways could face 12 months behind bars.

The British Home Office’s Police Powers Unit wrote to the campaign group Republic, saying the new laws were enacted to prevent “disruption at major sporting and cultural events."

Operation Golden Orb, the ceremony's code name, formalized King Charles' transformation from being the longest-reigning Prince of Wales to being king of the United Kingdom.

The last man to rule Britain was King George VI, previously the duke of York, who assumed the throne on Dec. 11, 1936 after his brother, Edward VIII abdicated to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson.

"I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as king as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love," Edward announced after renouncing the crown.

George VI, possessor of a severe stammer, would lead his country through World War II before dying in 1952. His daughter, Elizabeth, ascended to the throne at the young age of 25.

When she died on Sept. 8 at age 96, she was succeeded by her eldest son, Charles. Queen Elizabeth II was the longest-serving monarch in British history. And while the accession is a somber rite, the coronation is all about celebrating and jubilation. 

Her son's coronation, as is custom, contained a great deal of pomp and circumstance. He commissioned a new Coronation Anthem by Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber as well as a gospel choir ensemble piece written by Debbie Wiseman, a noted conductor and film and television composer.

King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla arrived at Westminster Abbey in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach, which contains parts dating to 1760 and was commissioned for the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth's coronation. This coach has air conditioning, electric windows and back-saving modern suspension, and had previously only been used to carry the late monarch and her late husband Prince Philip, and occasionally, visiting heads of state.

The King and Queen returned to Buckingham Palace in the 260-year-old Gold State Coach, which Queen Elizabeth once noted was very uncomfortable and had no modern suspension.

Camilla was also crowned queen consort with Queen Mary's headpiece, which was worn by Queen Mary during her queen consort coronation in 1911.

On hand for Saturday's festivities was first lady Dr. Jill Biden, who arrived Thursday in Great Britain. Prince Harry journeyed from California, without wife Meghan Markle, who stayed home with the couple's two children, Archie and Lilibet.

Prince William, the heir apparent behind his father King Charles, was part of the ceremonies. Prince George, 9, second in line behind dad Prince William, was one of four pages of honor, carrying a small ceremonial sword. Princess Charlotte, 7, and Prince Louis, 4, were with mom Catherine, Princess of Wales, commonly known as Kate Middleton.

The event was watched worldwide via the BBC, Sky News, ITV, all major American networks including ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox, and major streamers, including Paramount+

A special Coronation Concert sponsored by the BBC is scheduled for Sunday at Windsor Castle with performers Katy Perry, Lionel Ritchie and Italian opera star Andrea Bocelli slated to perform.

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