King Charles and Queen Camilla’s gratitude for public
The King and Queen have thanked the public for their support and kindness – and called it the greatest possible Coronation gift. As a long weekend of festivities drew to a close last night, the monarch’s message set out their gratitude and rededicated their lives to serving the people. He also thanked everyone involved in organising the celebrations.
Buckingham Palace released four official photos taken on Coronation Day to mark the crowning of Charles III and Queen Camilla.
In his message signed Charles R, the 74-year-old wrote: “As the Coronation weekend draws to a close, my wife and I just wanted to share our most sincere and heartfelt thanks to all those who have helped to make this such a special occasion.”
“We pay particular tribute to the countless people who have given their time and dedication to ensuring that the celebrations in London, Windsor and further afield were as happy, safe and enjoyable as possible. To those who joined in the celebrations – whether at home, at street parties and lunches, or by volunteering in communities – we thank you, each and every one.”
“To know that we have your support and encouragement, and to witness your kindness expressed in so many different ways, has been the greatest possible Coronation gift, as we now rededicate our lives to serving the people of the United Kingdom, the Realms and Commonwealth.”
In the freshly-released portraits by British photographer Hugo Burnand, 59, one image depicts the King in full regalia sitting in the Throne Room at the Palace.
He is wearing his crimson Coronation tunic, the Robe of Estate, the diamond-encrusted Imperial State Crown, and is holding the Orb and Sceptre with Cross.
King Charles is seated on one of a pair of 1902 throne chairs that were made for the future George V and Queen Mary for use at the coronation of Edward VII.
A second image shows Queen Camilla, 75, in the Green Drawing Room at the Palace, wearing Queen Mary’s Crown and her Robe of Estate, while a third photograph has the couple together in the Throne Room.
In a key message for the new monarch’s reign, the focus of the fourth photograph is placed firmly on the working members of the Royal Family.
It shows the 11 working members plus the Princess Royal’s husband Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence who accompanies her regularly on engagements all over Britain and around the world despite him not being considered an official working royal.
Kingship is based on self-sacrifice and duty, says Leo McKinstry
In keeping with the high standards that characterised every aspect of the Coronation, the speech by the Prince of Wales at the Windsor Castle concert was a masterpiece.
Humorous, concise and perfectly delivered, it showed both devotion to the King and pride in his achievements.
But William’s greatest praise was reserved for his father’s spirit of dedication.
As the Prince put it, “for all that the celebrations are magnificent, at the heart of the pageantry is a simple message: service”.
Critics of the monarchy like to wail about hereditary power and privilege, but in truth the ideal of kingship is based on self-sacrifice, humility and duty.
That was reflected in the first words that the King uttered on his entry into Westminster Abbey at the start of the service on Saturday morning. “I come not to be served, but to serve,” he told the congregation.
It was pledge that was backed by his long, impressive record in public life, following the selfless example of his mother.
The outpouring of grief at the death of Queen Elizabeth last September stemmed in part from respect for her decades of devotion.
In the same way, admiration for all work that King Charles has done – as an environmentalist, naval officer, architectural campaigner, advocate of the inner-cities, charity creator, and champion of multi-faith diversity – has been central to the spectacular success of the Coronation weekend.
The public recognises that we have a sovereign who cares deeply about his country and will strive tirelessly to address its problems.
Commitment to service also motivated the participants who ensured that the event went so smoothly.
It is a remarkable testimony to their planning and diligence that, despite the colossal undertaking, there was barely a single mishap.
The 4,000 military personnel, accompanied by more than 1,000 musicians in 19 bands, paraded through central London with their typical precision and discipline, just as the clergy, led by the self-assured Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, produced an unforgettable service whose rich liturgy and music showed reverence for tradition while embracing modernity.
Equally impressive were the police, whose 11,500 officers carried out the biggest security operation ever seen in the capital without any serious incident.
Some 64 Republican and environmental protestors were arrested on Saturday, and have since predictably complained about heavy-handed tactics.
But given the global importance of the occasion and the appalling recent catalogue of mayhem inflicted on our streets by radical agitators, the police were right not to take a lenient approach.
Following the beautiful solemnity of the military parades and the service at the Abbey, a more informal celebratory mood has swept across the country, epitomised by the concert at Windsor Castle on Sunday, which featured the extraordinary but touching sight of the King dancing to Lionel Richie.
Earlier that day, an estimated 65,000 lunch parties were held in neighbourhoods throughout the country, from 10 Downing Street to Morecambe, where 900 trestle tables were placed along the seafront to accommodate more than 10,000 people.
The theme of service was prominent again yesterday, with around six million taking part in the Big Help-Out, a nationwide initiative to promote voluntary work.
Among the 52,000 events were a clean up of beaches in Wales, a puppy training session in Reading organised by the Guide Dogs for the Blind, and an open day by St John’s Ambulance in Gateshead.
It was, said Brendan Cox, the co-founder of the Together Coalition, “an unprecedented festival of volunteering”.
The Big Help Out is a classic example of how the Crown can be a force for unity and public good.
Free from the partisan strife of party politics, it helps to build solidarity by acting as a symbol of our national identity and a vehicle for national pride.
Indeed, after all the difficulties that we have been through, particularly with the Covid Pandemic and the cost of living crisis, the Coronation has served as a booster rocket for our country.
On one level, that has happened in a very direct way by bolstering tourism, the hospitality trade, and souvenir sales.
Around six million special coins and medals have been minted, while more than 60 million pints of beer are expected to have been drunk over the weekend.
Altogether, the event could be worth an extra £2 billion to economic output.
But on a deeper level, the Coronation has been a wonderful showcase for British values and talent.
As an amateur magician, Prince Charles joined the Magic Circle in 1975.
He certainly presided over a magical spectacle, one that will live forever in our collective memory.
In all its rich imagery and sounds, the Coronation served as a captivating reminder not only of our enduring greatness as a nation but also of our global influence as a cultural superpower.
Few other countries can rival our contribution to the story of mankind.
As this weekend has emphasised, ours is the land that built the hallowed edifice of Westminster Abbey, that produced the language of Shakespeare, that pioneered the concept of Parliamentary governance under a constitutional monarchy and that still possesses armed forces of unique distinction.
Britain is also a rapidly changing society, but here again the Crown is a vital bulwark of stability because its benevolent capacity to bring all races and creeds together.
Far from representing a kind of nationalist supremacy, the Union Jack bunting that has bedecked our streets during the Coronation is a welcome emblem of inclusion.
As promoted by the monarchy, patriotism is a bond that reinforces a shared sense of belonging.
That ethos shone through the service at the Abbey, where tradition was adapted for the realities of diverse, multi-faith Britain, highlighted in the contributions from non-Christian religious leaders and the compelling performance by the Ascension gospel choir.
The Crown’s strong credentials in combating discrimination, as graphically demonstrated in Charles’ work at the Prince’s Trust in helping disadvantaged youths, expose the emptiness of the vicious claims from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex about racism within the Royal.
Predictably, after sending shockwaves with their wild accusations during their notorious interview with Oprah Winfrey, they produced no evidence and began to backtrack.
Prince Harry and his wife thought they could inflict lasting damage on the monarchy by detonating their bomb of charges about bigotry, but it blew up in their own faces.
What was so striking at the weekend was the huge popularity of the King, the Queen and their immediate relatives, compared to the isolation of Harry as he went furtively in and out of the Abbey on his flying visit from Californian exile.
The British monarchy has endured for over 1000 years.
As Charles begins his first week as the crowned King, he can take satisfaction from the knowledge that the institution is as secure as at any time in its history.
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