Less than eight months after ascending the throne following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles and his wife Camilla celebrated their coronation. The May 6 ceremony at Westminster Abbey was the second of the United Kingdom’s coronations to be televised following King Charles’ own mother’s in 1953 — and while it was a religious and secular ceremony, it was also a pop culture spectacle. Crowds of supporters waited for hours for a glimpse of the day’s proceedings, with many more chatting (and sharing memes) about the big day on social media.
Here’s what you need to know about the United Kingdom’s big day.
The young royals stole the show
Prince William and Kate Middleton were joined by their children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. The ceremony was particularly unique for Prince George, as he was the first future king to have a role in the coronation ceremony — he was a Page of Honor at the event.
Princess Charlotte matched with mom Kate — both wore Alexander McQueen flower crown headbands. The headpieces featured the four flowers of the United Kingdom
The young royals joined their grandfather on the Buckingham Palace balcony to wave at onlookers following the ceremony, as they did during the Queen’s Jubilee, where Prince Louis famously covered his ears to block out the sounds of airplanes
How Prince Harry fit into the coronation
Prince Harry did attend the coronation ceremony, though it was a quick trip — he headed back to California to celebrate his son Archie’s fourth birthday with wife Meghan Markle, who was not in attendance.
According to reports, the Duke of Sussex flew commercial to the event
Prince Harry sat in the third row, behind the other members of the royal family. He wasn’t the only royal relegated to this seating arrangement: Prince Andrew, who stepped down from his royal duties following his Jeffrey Epstein controversy, also sat in the third row
Though Prince Harry and Prince Andrew sat together, there was a distinct difference in their attire. While Prince Andrew wore his formal Order of the Garter robes, Prince Harry — who served two tours in Afghanistan — was in a suit. (He did, however, wear his medals.)
Which celebrities attended the coronation — and what they wore
Politicians stepped out to celebrate the coronation, including First Lady Jill Biden, who attended in place of President Joe Biden with granddaughter Finnegan Biden. The First Lady wore a cornflower blue dress by Ralph Lauren, while Finnegan sported a pastel yellow gown by Markarian
Only a small selection of celebrities made the cut for the May 6 event. Dame Emma Thompson was one of them — she was joined by husband Greg Wise at the coronation, wearing a red floral coat over a black dress
Katy Perry, who will also be performing at the May 7 coronation concert, wore a lilac outfit, complete with an oversized hat, to attend the coronation. She was accompanied by British Vogue editor Edward Enninful. Noticeably absent was longtime partner Orlando Bloom.
Lionel Richie, Perry’s American Idol co-host who will also perform Sunday, also attended the event, wearing a black suit and white tie. He told Sky News that it was a “once in a lifetime event” and that “to be a part of it is everything.” Both he and Perry are taking a brief leave from their American Idol duties in order to perform at Sunday’s event
Lionel Richie says he feels like 'kid at Christmas time' ahead of the coronation concert, adding that the performance will be 'a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity'
Latest: https://t.co/gELyhGXZyw pic.twitter.com/0Rk8jPEdWZ
— Sky News (@SkyNews) May 3, 2023
Viral moments from the coronation
Princess Anne, the only daughter of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles’ sister, was the “Gold-Stick-in-Waiting” at the ceremony, a role she has held since 1955. It was her green outfit that went viral on Twitter. “Has Princess Anne been the cool one all along?” one Twitter user posed alongside a photo of her in uniform. “She is actually pulling this look off.” Others compared Princess Anne's look to Robin Hood
Princess Anne has a Robin Hood vibe, as if she's going to saunter off with a few tiaras under her robes. She's also clearly taken with her security guard, telling him, "I've married commoners, you know" pic.twitter.com/mgc9QE5Yl5
— Paul Rudnick (@PaulRudnickNY) May 6, 2023
Prince Louis stole the show by yawning during the ceremony, making him once again the most memeable of the young royals
— Matthew Rimmer (@MatthewRimmer) May 6, 2023
Lots of Monty Python and the Holy Grail jokes were made on Twitter, thanks to King Charles receiving a gold orb that many likened to the “Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch”
The most historic aspect of King Charles III's coronation is that, for the first time *EVER*, Monty Python fans are able to make Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch jokes as this thing is brought out... pic.twitter.com/j1kFvyVIMK
— Брйан Тэм (@btrain16) May 6, 2023
Outside of the ceremony, the village of Bramhall found their own way to honor the coronation: by putting up life-size cut-outs of the King and Queen all over town, as part of a royal trail people can follow
Perry seemingly struggled to find her seat inside the more than 2,000 person coronation. The "Firework" singer responded to the seat misplacement on Twitter, assuring her fans, "don’t worry guys i found my seat."
— Kandy 🖤🃏👑 (@zourkandy) May 6, 2023
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