'Not my King' chants 'clearly audible' inside Charles's Scottish coronation celebration

Charles was booed on his entrance to the National Service of Thanksgiving at St. Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh. (Reuters)
Charles was booed on his entrance to the national service of thanksgiving at St. Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh. (Reuters)

King Charles's "mini coronation" in Edinburgh has been marred by boos by anti-monarchy protesters, with chants of 'Not my King' audible inside St Giles Cathedral, according to one attendee.

Judith Duffy, senior political reporter for The National, was reporting from inside the venue for the King and Queen Camilla's service of thanksgiving on Thursday.

Duffy wrote of the occasion: "For all the careful planning and minute-by-minute orchestration of the lavish ceremony to celebrate King Charles III, there was one feature which definitely wasn’t meant to be in the programme.

"During the hour-long service shouts of "not my King" could clearly be heard during moments of silence – particularly during the key presentation of the honours of Scotland.

"The protesters, who were sited just beyond St Giles’ Cathedral where the service was being held did not see the King and Queen drive past. Despite that, they succeeded in making their voices heard."

Four republican protestors were arrested and later released with their arrest changed to recorded police warnings.

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - JULY 03: King Charles III walks through the guard of honour during the British Royal Family's Royal Week in Scotland, at the Ceremony of the Keys at the Palace of Holyrood House on July 03, 2023 in Edinburgh, Scotland. The British Royal family will carry out traditional engagements in Scotland until Thursday. This includes the presentation of the  Honours  of  Scotland to King Charles III and Queen Camilla at a National Service of  Thanksgiving on July 05. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
King Charles at the ceremony of the keys which officially marks the beginning of royal week. (Getty Images)

A further two women were charged for breaching the peace by allegedly trying to climb over a safety barrier on the Royal Mile. It is believed Imogen Robertson, 22, and Hannah Torrance-Bright, 21, are members of This Is Rigged – a Scottish pressure group that hopes to curtail the oil and gas industry.

The protests took place during Charles's visit to Scotland for royal week — his first since becoming monarch — for a series of celebrations marking the King and Queen’s coronation, including a people’s procession through the streets of the capital.

Crowds and demonstrators alike gathered as the procession travelled along the Royal Mile to St Giles’ Cathedral to attend a service of thanksgiving and dedication for the King and Queen — which Duffy said saw the two opposing sides of monarchists and republicans "shouting at each other in the street".

Like the larger-scale official coronation in London on 6 May, protests at the Scottish celebration — led by campaign groups such as Republic — were a marked feature of the procession.

It was not smooth sailing from the start of the proceedings, with significant boos and chants being heard among the cheers as the King's car pulled up alongside the steps to the cathedral.

Watch: King Charles's Scottish coronation marred by boos and chants of 'Not my King'

The ceremony in Scotland drew ire from the Scottish Greens party, with MSP Patrick Harvie saying the service was a “Game Of Thrones-style cosplay exercise” and hit out at the disruption in Edinburgh this week.

Speaking to an Our Republic rally outside the Scottish Parliament, he said: “It is fundamentally at odds with the kind of modern and democratic society we are trying to build here.”

He added afterwards: “I recognise there is going to be disruption when there is a major event on. But let’s think about how a modern, democratic head of state would go about their business in Scotland.

“It wouldn’t have this level of pomp and ceremony and rigmarole.”

Scottish 'coronation' ceremony

The coronation celebrations' centrepiece was a national service of thanksgiving at St Giles Cathedral where the honours of Scotland were presented to Charles, Camilla, William and Katewho are known in Scotland as the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay.

Before the service, the honours — the Scottish crown jewels — were taken from Edinburgh Castle to the cathedral accompanied by a guard of honour and the Band of the Royal Regiment of Scotland and the RAF Pipes and Drums — at this stage boos and chants of 'Not my King' could be heard over the piping band.

The honours of Scotland followed a people's procession — made up of 100 people from different aspects of Scottish life and charities of which Charles is patron — that arrived at the cathedral first.

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - JULY 05: Invited guests take part in the procession ahead of a national service of thanksgiving and dedication to the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla at St Giles' Cathedral on July 05, 2023 in Edinburgh, Scotland. During the service of thanksgiving and dedication for the Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla, the Honours of Scotland (the Scottish crown jewels) are presented to the new King. The service is based on a similar service held at St Giles' 70 years ago to mark the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II but unlike the 1953 service, the Stone of Destiny, on which ancient Scottish kings were crowned, will be present in the cathedral. (Photo by Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Participants take part in the People's Procession. (Getty Images)

Finally, the royal procession arrived at St Giles' Cathedral from the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

After the service of thanksgiving was complete, there was a 21-gun-salute at Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Family watched a fly-past from the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

Police Scotland — undoubtedly aware of the optics another series of arrests could create and represented by Assistant Chief Constable Tim Mairs, said ahead of the celebrations that the police's main priority for the event would be public safety.

"Our priority is public safety and a policing plan is in place to maintain people’s safety, ensure the safe delivery of this significant event, enable peaceful protest and minimise disruption.

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - JULY 05: (EDITORS NOTE: Image contains profanity) Anti-monarchy protesters gather near St Giles' Cathedral along the Royal Mile ahead of a National Service of Thanksgiving and Dedication To The Coronation Of King Charles III And Queen Camilla on July 05, 2023 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Anti-monarchy groups, including Republic and Our Republic, are demonstrating in Edinburgh today. The protests are scheduled to disrupt ceremonial events to mark King Charles III's coronation. (Photo by Danny Lawson - Pool/Getty Images)
Protestors campaigning against the monarchy have demonstrated at the Scottish mini-coronation. (Getty Images)

“Decisions about how to police protests require us to balance complex and often competing rights and issues.

"We have a legal duty to protect the rights of people who wish to peacefully protest or counter-protest. Our human rights based approach and legislation that applies in Scotland is unique amongst UK policing.

"Campaigning and demonstration is a legitimate, necessary and vital part of life. Abusive, threatening behaviour or activity intended to disrupt the event that risks public safety is not legitimate protest."

A police marksman keeps watch on the roof of the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh on July 5, 2023 ahead of National Service of Thanksgiving and Dedication. Scotland on Wednesday will mark the Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla during a National Service of Thanksgiving and Dedication where the The King will be presented with the Honours of Scotland. (Photo by Robert Perry / POOL / AFP) (Photo by ROBERT PERRY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
A police marksman keeps watch on the roof of the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh before Charles's procession. (Getty Images)

The co-leaders of the Scottish Green Party declined their invitations to the service at St Giles Cathedral in protest of the monarchy and instead planned to speak at the Our Republic rally.

"In 21st Century Scotland, the monarchy is nothing to celebrate. It is an out of date and undemocratic institution," said Lorna Slater in a statement. "How can we justify a system that allows one family to enjoy so much unearned wealth and privilege at a time when millions of people have so little?

“Scotland can be a modern and democratic republic with an elected and accountable head of state. I want every child in Scotland to know they live in a genuine democracy and that they can achieve the highest office, regardless of which family they come from.”

What is royal week?

Royal week or 'Holyrood week' is a week spent by the monarch and other royals celebrating Scottish culture, tradition and life.

The annual tradition sees the Royal Family led by the monarch travel around the country meeting Scottish people from different walks of life and begins with the ceremony of the keys at the forecourt of the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

An investiture and garden party also always take place, with more than 8,000 Scottish people invited to the palace to mark the contributions they have made to life in their communities and other notable efforts.