The coronation ceremony gives way to the communal feast

by The Insights

The old military ceremonies and marches that attended the coronation of King Charles III on Saturday gave way to parties and events across Britain as the UK enjoyed a special bank holiday weekend.

On Sunday evening, a coronation concert, attended by the monarch and the royal family, was held at Windsor Castle, featuring Britain’s diverse arts scene, as well as performances by Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Take That.

Prince William paid tribute to his “Pa”, speaking of his father’s “commitment to service”, his determination to promote the interests of different faiths and communities, and his work to raise awareness of climate change.

The Royal Ballet, Royal Opera House, Royal Shakespeare Company, Royal College of Music and Royal College of Art have collaborated on a joint performance on ‘Romeo and Juliet’.

The two-hour event included the Lighting Up The Nation project, with shows at ten locations across the country, with drones lighting up the sky.

A drone representing a whale floats above the coronation concert in Windsor © AP

King Charles and his wife Queen Camilla were crowned at Westminster Abbey on Saturday; 70 years have passed since the coronation of the monarch’s mother, Queen Elizabeth.

A peak national television audience of around 20 minutes – just under a third of the country’s population – watched the ceremony, by far the biggest audience of the year. However, that number was considerably lower than the 29 minutes that watched Queen Elizabeth’s funeral last September.

On Sunday, the formality of the coronation was replaced by events including the “Big Lunch” during which neighbors were invited to share a common meal.

Katy Perry performs in Windsor ©Getty Images

On a leafy avenue in London’s Regent’s Park, most of the hundreds gathered around trestle tables and union flags were celebrating a long weekend and spring sunshine as much as the coronation.

Some of the attendees, among families and older residents of the affluent Primrose Hill neighborhood, wore homemade wreaths, flags fashioned as capes and ate iced cupcakes with Charles’ face on, while sipping prosecco from plastic tumblers. plastic. A marching band, booked by the organizers and surrounded by cheering crowds, played covers of hits rather than patriotic anthems.

Dolly Begum, 35, a teaching assistant from east London, said she was there to celebrate the coronation but also enjoyed the neighborhood. She and her family had taken the opportunity to visit Regent’s Park and the mosque as well as enjoy the picnic. “We just wanted to go out and have a good day.”

John Dauth, 76, a former press secretary to King Charles and Australian High Commissioner to the UK, had set his table with a plastic flag and a bouquet of red, white and blue flowers. The picnic was one of many coronation parties he planned to attend during the holiday.

Celia Washington and Elizabeth Renzon at a street party

Celia Washington (front left) and Elizabeth Renzoni (front right) were among thousands enjoying street parties and picnics © Bethan Staton/FT

The new king offered “continuity”, he said: “all is not well in this country, but there is one thing that is”.

Artist Celia Washington said the day was a “beautiful” opportunity “to picnic with friends”, regardless of individual feelings towards royalty. “It’s beautiful pageantry and a beautiful story – you don’t have to be a monarchist to celebrate it.”

Despite the celebratory national mood, support for the monarchy is waning and some concern surrounds the number of arrests made by police at Saturday’s coronation events.

Washington and his friend Elizabeth Renzoni, both in their 60s, expressed concern over the arrests. “If Britishness means anything, it’s freedom of expression,” Renzoni said.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was among those hosting a coronation lunch – more than 67,000 take place – with guests including groups of young people and families who came to Britain to escape war in Ukraine.

Sunday’s weather improved on Coronation Day, relieving street party organizers and giving soggy buntings time to dry out.

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