King Charles Coronation: London prepares for historic event - but fears rain will dampen celebrations
London is preparing for the King’s historic coronation on Saturday as crowds hope rain stays away for the celebrations.
Tens of thousands are set to line the streets of the capital to see King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla take a ceremonial route through central London before being crowned at Westminster Abbey.
Well-wishers were camping out along the Mall on Friday night in a bid to catch a glimpse of the occasion, Britain’s first coronation in 70 years.
It will involve a mammoth security operation, with Scotland Yard deploying among the largest-ever number of officers in its history.
It will also rank as Britain’s biggest ceremonial military operation since the funeral of Winston Churchill in 1965.
However, royal fans will be hoping that forecasted outbreaks of rain throughout the day do not materialise - and poor weather may scupper a planned Red Arrows flyover.
As the King and Queen Consort begin the procession, at 10.20am, down The Mall to the Abbey, showers are likely to begin across the capital although “not every area of London will initially see the rain”, said Met Office forecaster Stephen Dixon.
King Charles and Queen Camilla will travel to the Abbey in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach, setting off from Buckingham Palace at 10.20am.
Around 200 members of the Household Cavalry will escort the King’s procession, with troops from the three services lining the route.
It will move along The Mall to Trafalgar Square, then down Whitehall and Parliament Street before turning into Parliament Square and Broad Sanctuary to reach the Great West Door of the Abbey for the start of the service at 11am.
The service will be conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, and the pair will be joined by dignitaries around the world, including US First Lady Jill Biden and French president, Emmanuel Macron.
Charles will wear military uniform instead of the more traditional breeches and silk stockings worn by kings before him for the ceremony, which will also feature him being ‘presented’ to the people.
The Coronation Oath will then be administered, with Charles asked to confirm that he will uphold the law and the Church of England during his reign.
He will also take the Accession Declaration Oath — stating that he is a “faithful Protestant”.
For the anointing, the archbishop will pour special oil from the ampulla — a gold flask — on to the coronation spoon before anointing the King with a cross on his head, chest and hands.
The investiture, when Charles is officially crowned, will take place at midday.
He will be given an embroidered golden coat to wear called the Supertunica and be presented with items including the Sovereign’s Orb, the Coronation Ring, the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross and the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Dove.
Then the archbishop will place St Edward’s Crown on the King’s head — the signal for the abbey bells to ring for two minutes, trumpets to sound and gun salutes to be fired across the UK.
The final part of the ceremony — the enthronement — will finally see the King take the throne.
The ceremony will finish at 1pm when the King and Queen will begin their coronation procession back to Buckingham Palace in the Gold State Coach.
Although temperatures will rise to 14C, overcast conditions and showers will remain - meaning there may be drizzly conditions as Charles, Camilla and other royals watch from the palace balcony for the fly-past.
Despite wet conditions in the capital, the Princess of Wales described the King’s coronation as a “great moment for celebration” on Friday. Meanwhile, the Prince praised The Mall’s “party atmosphere”.
William and Kate joined the King for a surprise walkabout in The Mall meeting royalists who have staked their spot on the thoroughfare.
With Prince George set to play a starring role in the coronation and Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis expected to attend the historic event, the princess revealed her children were “a bit nervous” and “excited” and could not wait for the day.
The King shook dozens of outstretched hands and laughed when one man asked if he was “nervous for tomorrow”.
The King’s final hours before the coronation were spent meeting with the leaders of the Commonwealth at a reception at Buckingham Palace.
There were 42 attendees at the occasion, including Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese, and prime minister of New Zealand Chris Hipkins.