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Friday, May 31, 2024

Stars take centre stage as UK steps up coronation celebrations

Charles, 74, and Queen Camilla, 75, watched on from a royal box in the grounds of the castle west of London, as Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and British band Take That topped the bill of performers.

Britain revelled in the coronation of King Charles III on Sunday as it staged a star-studded concert watched by 20,000 people at Windsor Castle and millions more across the country and world.

Charles, 74, and Queen Camilla, 75, watched on from a royal box in the grounds of the castle west of London, as Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and British band Take That topped the bill of performers.

Screens erected nationwide broadcast the televised event — featuring a 70-piece orchestra, choirs and several unique dramatic performances — to communities, while organisers said it would also be seen in over 100 countries.

Amid the music and video message tributes from an array of public figures, Prince William took to the stage to pay tribute to his father the day after he was formally crowned king.

Noting his late grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, was “up there, fondly keeping an eye on us”, William added she would be “a very proud mother”.

“For over 50 years, in every corner of the UK, across the Commonwealth and around the world, he has dedicated himself to serve others, both current and future generations,” the heir to the throne said.

“Pa, we are all so proud of you.”

Read more: Crowds gather in London for moment in history as King Charles is crowned

– ‘Celebrate’ –

Charles’ coronation Saturday as monarch of the United Kingdom and 14 Commonwealth countries was the first in Britain in seven decades.

The glittering Westminster Abbey ceremony, steeped in 1,000 years of tradition and ritual, was attended by global royalty and world leaders, as well as hundreds of UK community and charity representatives.

Thanking all those involved, Buckingham Palace said Charles and Camilla had been “deeply touched” by it.

Read more: Charles III to be crowned king in first UK coronation since 1953

Monday has been declared a public holiday — meaning people could enjoy Sunday unencumbered.

Earlier, partygoers flocked to tens of thousands of street celebrations and “Big Lunch” events looking to bring modern Britain’s communities closer.

After the post-World War II hardships, street parties were a feature of Queen Elizabeth II’s 1953 coronation — and a memorable part of celebrations for her long reign in 1977 and her platinum jubilee last year.

“It’s lovely… you need these things to bring the community together,” Annette Cathcart, 67, told AFP at a village hall gathering in Ashley Green, in Buckinghamshire, southern England.

“It’s the perfect way to celebrate.”

More than 67,000 big lunches were planned, according to organisers Eden Project Communities, with Coronation Quiches — the specially created, baked savoury tart featuring spinach, broad beans and tarragon — encouraged.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak hosted one in Downing Street, inviting community volunteers, Ukrainian refugees and dignitaries including US First Lady Jill Biden.

The British leader was joined by his wife, two daughters and the family dog, Nova, who sported a union flag bandana.