(London) After the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla, the British find themselves together Sunday by attending tens of thousands of neighborhood lunches, before a big concert at Windsor Castle.
More than 67,000 editions of the “Big Lunch” — a British tradition at every royal celebration, complete with Union Jack pennants and decorations — have been counted across the country for this long coronation weekend.
If Charles and Camilla, freshly crowned, will not participate, other members of the royal family will make an appearance during these popular festivals.
Prince Edward and his wife Sophie will travel to Cranleigh in Surrey (South), Princess Anne and her husband Tim Laurence will be in Swindon (West) and Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, daughters of Prince Andrew who has become an outcast of the family, have announced in Windsor.
But 72% of Britons, unmotivated by the coronation, do not intend to participate in any celebration, according to a YouGov poll on Friday.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has planned to invite volunteers, Ukrainian refugees and groups of young people to Downing Street for a post-coronation meal.
For their part, after several days of rehearsals, receptions, garden parties and solemn coronation at Westminster Abbey, the 74 and 75-year-old royal couple will organize a private reception at Windsor Castle (West London) on Sunday before d attend a big concert in front of 20,000 spectators.
Performances include American singers Lionel Richie and Katy Perry, Chinese pianist Lang Lang, Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli and a choir of more than 300 people from a wide variety of backgrounds. No British headliners responded.
Actor Tom Cruise is set to make a video appearance, as is Winnie the Pooh, possibly following in the footsteps of Paddington Bear, star of a video where he had tea with Queen Elizabeth II at the opening of the Jubilee concert in June 2022.
On Monday, a public holiday granted especially for the coronation, the British were encouraged to take part in voluntary actions.
Saturday’s religious coronation in London of Charles III made for a historic day, with all the pomp associated with the great events of the monarchy. Even the rain – systematic during the last five coronations, said the weather services – was there.
The photo of Charles being crowned made the headlines of all British newspapers on Sunday hailing the “glorious coronation” of the monarch.
Charles III, wearing heavy ancestral ceremonial robes, was cheered, sworn in, anointed and crowned at Westminster Abbey in front of 2,300 guests, in an age-old Anglican rite, modernized at the margins. His wife Camilla was also blessed and crowned.
More than 14 million viewers watched live on the BBC the moment Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the first dignitary of the Anglican religion, placed on Charles’s head the heavy crown of St Edward, in solid gold and set with rubies.
Accompanied by a spectacular procession, the couple returned in a golden carriage to Buckingham Palace, from where they greeted thousands of fans who had braved the rain to see them.
The oldest British king ever crowned, he is not as popular as his mother Elizabeth II who died in September and anti-monarchy protesters demonstrated in London on Saturday as the carriages passed, as well as in other British cities.
London police, who had announced a very low level of “tolerance”, have drawn heavy criticism for arresting six officials of the anti-monarchy group Republic, including leader Graham Smith. They were released about 16 hours later.
“Make no mistake about it. The right to peaceful protest no longer exists in the UK,” Graham Smith tweeted on Saturday evening.
In total, police said they had arrested 52 people on the sidelines of the coronation celebrations “for disturbing public order, disturbing the peace and conspiring to cause a public nuisance around the coronation”. Climate activists are among those arrested.