As millions watched around the world, King Charles and Queen Camilla took their place in the history books today being crowned in an ancient ritual under the eyes of God.
With an incredible display of pomp and pageantry, more than 7000 soldiers, sailors and aviators from across the UK and Commonwealth participated in ceremonial activities across processions, fly pasts and gun salutes marking the historic event of the Coronation today.
It was a day of magnificent British ceremony, the likes of which we have not been seen for 70 years.
Meticulously planned, the Coronation wove together the mystique of rarely seen ancient rites with Union Flag-waving crowds in the mood for a good old British knees up.
Royal well wishers had been lining the streets in London and camping out in the rain for days, flying in from all over the world to catch a glimpse of the royal procession.
From dawn, they packed away tents and many dressed in patriotic red, white and blue as they waved union flags and sang God Save the King.
With more than 7,000 soldiers, sailors and aviators from across the UK and Commonwealth on parade and around 200 personnel providing a Guard of Honour at Buckingham Palace, together this made up the largest UK military ceremonial operation for 70 years.
As well as marching detachments from across the Household Division, Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force, more than 400 troops from the Commonwealth nations and British Overseas Territories were on parade, representing the diversity and traditions of Armed Forces around the globe with connections to His Majesty The King.
Foot Guards of the Household Division lined The Mall, the Royal Navy lined their spiritual home at Admiralty Arch, the Royal Marines at Trafalgar Square and the Royal Air Force Whitehall and Parliament Square.
To mark the Coronation across the country 21-gun salutes were fired and Britons held street parties to celebrate the historic event.
In Colchester, the 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery fired a 21-gun salute in front of dignitaries and members of the public gathered in the historic city’s Castle Park.
The salute was fired at 12.01 on Saturday 6th May, the exact moment that King Charles III was crowned in Westminster Abbey.
After firing the salute, the battery was inspected by Lieutenant Colonel (Retd) Hugh Toler, Deputy Lieutenant of Essex; and Brigadier Nick Cowley, Commander of 16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team.
Captain Peter Grey, Battery Commander of G Parachute Battery (Mercer’s Troop) Royal Horse Artillery, said:
“It is a huge privilege and honour for G Parachute Battery (Mercer’s Troop) Royal Horse Artillery to mark the Coronation of Their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla in the way that only artillery can. We always enjoy the opportunity to put on our best uniforms and fire in front of the public, and train hard to ensure that our ceremonial role is delivered to the same high standard as our operational gunnery.”
The three L118 105mm Light Guns that fired are the same guns used in 7 Para RHA’s role providing joint fires to 16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team, the British Army’s global response force.
Meanwhile in London crowds flooded the area outside Buckingham Place after their Majesties The King and Queen Consort departed Westminster Abbey and returned to Buckingham Place in the Gold State Coach, flanked by eighteen representatives of the Realms.
The 1.42 miles-long Coronation Procession was formed of eight groups from the Household Division, Royal Navy, British Army, Royal Air Force and Commonwealth, together with 19 bands. Led by the Household Cavalry Mounted Band and The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, the route was the reverse of the initial Procession to the Abbey, taking in Parliament Square, Whitehall, Trafalgar Square, Admiralty Arch, and The Mall.
More than 7,000 personnel took part, including 4,000 people in the procession itself, 1,000 street-liners, 200 members of the Guard of Honour and 200 people carrying the Standards, Colours, Guidons and Truncheon.
The Procession Group bands played up to eight marches, depending on their position in the Procession, before reducing to a drumbeat as they processed into position in the Buckingham Palace Garden for the Royal Salute.
Photographer: Giles Anderson © MoD Crown Copyright 2023
The daytime celebrations concluded with the world famous Red Arrows performing a flypast over Buckingham Palace.