(London) King Charles III will be crowned on May 6 in London in a religious ceremony organized with all the pomp of which the British monarchy has the secret and marked by the return of his terrible child, Prince Harry.
As the event approaches, the first of its kind in 70 years, the first rehearsals for the parades on horseback have taken place, the souvenir porcelain cups are on sale and an official dish has been designated: quiche with spinach, broad beans and tarragon.
Only the enthusiasm of the public is missing, more concerned with inflation than with this new but already old 74-year-old king, who would like to adapt the centuries-old institution to his time, from the environment to diversity, but struggles to embody revival and remains less popular than his heir William.
Eight months after acceding to the throne on the death of his mother Elizabeth II at the age of 96, it is nevertheless time for public consecration for Charles, head of state of the United Kingdom but also of 14 other kingdoms, Canada to Australia via the Bahamas.
He will become the 40th British monarch to be crowned at Westminster Abbey since William the Conqueror in 1066. At his side will also be crowned Queen Camilla, 75, mistress in the shadow of Princess Diana.
Charles III wanted a modernized ceremony, reduced to one hour and 2000 guests (three hours and 8000 people for Elizabeth II). But the event remains rooted in centuries of tradition.
Head of the Church of England, Charles will take the oath and benefit from the anointing of the Archbishop of Canterbury. He will receive the royal robe, the orb (a golden globe surmounted by a cross), the scepter and the crown of Saint Edward which will be placed on his head.
The event will kick off a weekend of celebrations with neighborhood parties and a concert at Windsor Castle on Sunday and a public holiday on Monday when Britons are invited to volunteer.
The atmosphere promises to be far from the jubilation of the coronation of the young Elizabeth II in 1953, which marked a renewal in a United Kingdom still scarred by the Second World War, and even festivities with the flavor of farewell to the 70 years of reign of the very popular sovereign in June.
British celebrities, from Elton John to Adele to Ed Sheeran, have declined for the concert: the line-up will be dominated by Americans Lionel Ritchie and Katy Perry, and Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli.
Since his accession to the throne, Charles has nevertheless been very active in departing from the unshakable reserve of his mother to engage in subjects such as the environment or the war in Ukraine.
But he was often greeted in his travels by a few anti-monarchy demonstrators, unimaginable under Elizabeth II, and found himself repeatedly targeted by egg throwing. The Republic movement called on Britons to wear “Not my king” t-shirts for the coronation.
In mid-April, the palace lifted the suspense: the king’s youngest son, despite very virulent memoirs against the monarchy, will come but not the American actress or their two children, Archie (who will turn four on coronation day) and Lilibet, almost two years old.
Will the Duke of Sussex meet his father or his eldest son William, whom he has described as hot-tempered and borderline violent?
The British press predicts a lightning passage but the attention will be high. His last trip to London in late March for a tabloid trial caused more of a stir than his father’s first overseas trip the same week to Germany.