Speed Reads

God Save the King

Charles III crowned at Westminster Abbey in historic ceremony

King Charles III was crowned monarch of the United Kingdom on Saturday, during a once-in-a-generation, pageantry-steeped coronation that came amidst continuing questions over the monarchy's modern role. 

The ceremony took place at Westminster Abbey in London, where Charles, accompanied by his wife, Queen Consort Camilla, began by saying he had come "to serve, not to be served." The coronation was led by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who anointed Charles with oil as the king swore a series of oaths.

After being presented with several of Britain's crown jewels, including a sword, scepter, and orb, Welby placed St. Edward's Crown atop Charles' head as cries of "God Save the King!" rang out. This was accompanied by cannon salutes across the country.

Inside Westminster for the coronation were dignitaries from around the world. This included Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska and Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, NPR reported. Following tradition, President Biden did not attend the festivities, though the United States was represented by first lady Jill Biden.

British leaders in attendance included Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, along with former Prime Ministers Liz Truss, Boris Johnson, Gordon Brown, David Cameron, and Tony Blair. 

Following their departure from Westminster, the king and queen consort made their way down a procession to Buckingham Palace, where the royal family greeted crowds on the balcony.

While Charles' coronation was more muted compared to the 1953 ceremony of his mother, Elizabeth II, the crowning came as protesters have been pushing back against the royal family for days. The festivities are expected to cost British taxpayers up to £100 million, TIME reported, and were held even as the U.K. faces a cost of living crisis and skyrocketing inflation. 

Opposition to the monarchy is largely along generational lines, with a poll cited by CNN finding that just 31 percent of Britons under 35 said they would watch the coronation.