(London) Three days before the coronation of Charles III and Camilla, the British government worked on Wednesday to reassure the security of the event and said it was ready to face threats after the arrest of a man in front of Buckingham Palace.
Seventy years after Elizabeth II, Britain prepares to crown its new king. Sign that the countdown has started: some of the biggest admirers of the “royals” have started to settle on the Mall, the long avenue that starts from Buckingham.
Tens of thousands of people, Britons and tourists, are expected along the journey that Charles and Camilla will make in the carriage between Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey. Around 2,300 people were invited to the ceremony, including around 100 heads of state.
Eight months after “ London Bridge ”, the code name of the precise operation of the funeral of Elizabeth II, the British police are rolling out “ Golden Orb ”, their device for the king’s coronation.
The ceremony, the culmination of three days of festivities, will give rise to “ one of the most important security operations ” that the United Kingdom has known, said Wednesday the Secretary of State for Security Tom Tugendhat .
“Our intelligence services and our other security forces are fully aware of the challenges we face and are ready to meet them, as the police did with flying colors” on Tuesday evening, he said.
Around 7 p.m. (2 p.m. EST) on Tuesday, a man was arrested outside Buckingham after throwing several items behind the palace gates, suspected to be shotgun shells. This man also had a knife. But the police said they are not currently handling the case as a terrorism case.
The king was not at the palace at the time, but he had received Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese there earlier in the day, for one of the many diplomatic meetings preceding his coronation.
On Saturday, thousands of police officers from all over the country will be mobilized to monitor the perimeter where the public will be present to cheer on the royal procession. According to the local press, snipers will be posted on the roofs, ready to intervene if necessary, and plainclothes police will mingle with the crowd.
No drones or planes are allowed to fly over central London on Saturday, except for security helicopters or authorized media.
The security forces try to identify in advance the maximum number of people likely to pose a problem. In addition to the terrorist risk, the police closely monitor climate activists, many in recent days in London, or anti-monarchy.
Some 7,000 soldiers will take part in the procession between Buckingham and Westminster Abbey. It will be “ a glorious ceremonial spectacle ”, promised Edward William Fitzalan-Howard, responsible for organizing the coronation, a position devolved for centuries to the bearer of the title of Duke of Norfolk.
The religious ceremony — the sovereign is head of the Church of England — will last two hours. “At the coronation, the king will swear before God and the nation to serve our country as head of state,” he said. “This is a time to remind ourselves of the pride we feel in our great country and our unwritten Constitution that has served us so well for 1,000 years.”
Once Charles is crowned, the bells will ring. Cannons will be fired from Hyde Park, the Tower of London and other locations around the country.
Upon their return to Buckingham, Charles and Camilla will wave to the crowd from the balcony. If Prince Harry, who left the country with a bang in 2020, will be present in Westminster, he will not appear on the balcony, according to British media.
A six-minute aerial parade will take place in the skies over London.
On Sundays, the British are invited to take part in the “ Big Lunch ”, neighborhood parties. And in the evening, 20,000 people will attend a concert on the lawn overlooking Windsor Castle, with the program Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, Take That in particular. Tom Cruise and Winnie the Pooh are also set to make an appearance.