(LONDON) Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Governor General Mary Simon and astronaut Jeremy Hansen were among Canadian dignitaries at Westminster Abbey on Saturday morning to attend the coronation of King Charles III.
It was drizzling as the Canadian delegation entered this historic church.
Indigenous leaders were also on the Canadian guest list, including Assembly of First Nations National Chief RoseAnne Archibald, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami President Natan Obed and Métis National Council President Cassidy Caron. .
Meanwhile in Canada, onlookers and observers had set their alarm clocks ringing early so they wouldn’t miss the ceremony in London, though polls suggest many are lukewarm about the event — and to the new monarch.
In London, thousands of people from all over the world gathered along the route. A few Maple Leafs floated in a sea of British flags.
The ceremony even attracted opponents of the monarchy. Republic Group said six of its members, including its chief executive, were arrested as soon as they arrived at the scene.
The trumpets sounded as Charles III and his wife Camilla entered the church where England’s sovereigns have been crowned since 1066. They were preceded by a procession of dignitaries including historian Margaret MacMillan, Companion of the Order of the Canada, and Leslie Arthur Palmer, recipient of the Cross of Valour.
Charles III is the 40th sovereign to be crowned in the venerable abbey. He is also the oldest at the age of 74.
For the first time, female clergy were able to participate in the ceremony which also included for the first time representatives of Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Muslims and Sikhs.
After the ceremony, a large crowd cheered as five RCMP horsemen passed in front of the royal couple’s golden carriage.
Mr. Trudeau released a statement shortly after the ceremony.
“Today we celebrate the reign of His Majesty King Charles III and reiterate Canada’s unwavering commitment to the Commonwealth. On this momentous occasion, let us remember our shared values of inclusion, diversity and respect for human rights as we continue to build a better future for all members of the Commonwealth together. »
The prime minister took advantage of the coronation to have bilateral meetings with his British counterpart, Rishi Sunak, and the new head of the New Zealand government, Chris Hipkins.
In an interview before the coronation, Ralph Goodale, Canada’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, underlined the close ties between the two countries.
He cited the prominent position of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in the procession and the fact that Charles met with Canadian Indigenous leaders just before the coronation.
“As a member of the Commonwealth, Canada is recognized as a country that has very close and enduring relationships with the United Kingdom and the monarchy. Canada’s participation in these activities is very important,” Mr. Goodale said.
“If you look at the mall, in the middle of all the Union Jacks, the first non-British flag you’ll see is the Canadian flag. Canada has this distinction within the Commonwealth and it is important to us and to Buckingham Palace,” he said.
According to Mr. Goodale, a Canadian King Charles tour is “in the planning stages”.
“The options are currently being considered as to the time of year and then there will be the hard questions of where they would go. Choosing the route will be difficult,” Mr. Goodale said.