Coronation: Public wish King Charles luck on walkabouton May 5, 2023 at 8:27 pm

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The monarch is seen laughing and shaking hands with crowds on the Mall a day before his coronation.

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A smiling King Charles III has thanked well-wishers for their support during a walkabout outside Buckingham Palace ahead of his coronation.

The King laughed and shook hands with members of the public, accompanied by the Prince and Princess of Wales.

People brought union jacks and pretend crowns, and some sang God Save the King.

The walkabout on the Mall had a high security presence, with dozens of cars and police on motorbikes.

Thousands turned out for the event, and shouts of “best of luck” and “good luck tomorrow” could be heard. One woman cried: “Love you Charlie!”

The King laughed when asked by a man if he was nervous for tomorrow, and joked to some children: “No school? You’ve done very well!”

Among the onlookers were royal fans from across the world.

King Charles waving to a gathered crowd at The Mall

Image source, Reuters

Calling from the side of the Mall, one woman said: “King Charles, it is so nice to meet you – we came here from America!”

Another man remarked: “I came from Bangkok”, to which the King replied: “It’s nice to meet you.”

The walkabout by the Royal Family took place before an evening reception for foreign dignitaries at Buckingham Palace.

The event was hosted by the King, and welcomed royals from countries including Spain, Denmark, Jordan and Monaco, as well as Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska and the Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.

It was also attended by US First Lady, Jill Biden, and one of her granddaughters.

As night fell on Friday evening, a number of people were camping out on the Mall to secure a spot for the Coronation on Friday.

Among those sleeping out were two women holding a sign dubbing the road “Coronation Street”.

Barbara Crowther, 69, and her friend Pauline, had come dressed in aprons with a union jack print.

“We weren’t going to camp, but there are so many people here – we thought that if we don’t camp out, we won’t get anywhere near the front,” said Ms Crowther.

“We’ve been to all the weddings, all the funerals.”

‘A bit nervous’

Earlier in the day at the walkabout, Prince William and Catherine posed for photographs with supporters.

Speaking to a BBC reporter on the Mall, the princess revealed her children were “a bit nervous” and “excited” and could not wait for the day.

Prince George is set to play a starring role in the coronation and Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis are also expected to attend the historic day.

One woman called Faby, from London, told PA news agency she had shaken hands with the King and found him charming.

“It was incredible,” the 55-year-old said. “It’s not every day you get to shake hands with the King. It was so lovely.”

Theresa Iredale, who turns 66 on Saturday, the day of the Coronation, wore a plastic crown.

She said the King thanked her for coming and congratulated her when she told him about her birthday.

“I was shaking. I saw his hand coming out to mine and I was like, ‘I can’t believe I’m shaking the King’s hand’. A special moment.”

Catherine during walkabout on The Mall

Image source, PA Media

“It is a moment of celebration; enjoy tomorrow,” Catherine said to one woman.

She appeared to take part in a video call at one stage before also speaking on another person’s phone then handing it back.

As well as union jacks, other flags on display included ones representing Germany, Wales, Canada and Australia. Cries of “Hip, hip, hooray” also rang out.

The King and Camilla, the Queen Consort, earlier attended a rehearsal at Westminster Abbey, before hosting a special lunch at Buckingham Palace for leaders of the Commonwealth – the 15 countries where he is monarch.

Attendees included UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, and Prime Minister of New Zealand Chris Hipkins.

Saturday’s Coronation begins at 11:00 BST (10:00 GMT) in Westminster Abbey, and will be led by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

At 13:00, the King and Queen will leave Westminster Abbey in a ceremonial procession back to Buckingham Palace, joined by other members of the Royal Family.

Strap bearing the words 'More on the Coronation'
Bottom of Coronation links box

As part of the Coronation, for the first time the public are being given an active role in the ceremony and will be invited to swear allegiance to the King.

The “homage of the people” is a new addition to the ancient ceremony, which is being led by Justin Welby.

It was revealed, along with other details of the service, in a liturgy published by Lambeth Palace last weekend. Lambeth Palace said the liturgy had been produced “in close consultation” with the King and the government.

Campaign group Republic called the idea “nonsense” and “offensive”.

The King’s close friend and biographer, broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby, earlier said the King would find the idea of people paying homage to him during his Coronation “abhorrent”.

Scheduled as part of the pageantry on Saturday is a fly-past, but it will be dependent on the weather, with a 70% chance of showers at the same time.

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Royal fans who will be in London to celebrate the occasion are advised to bring umbrellas, cagoules and waterproof jackets.

Royal Air Force Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Wigston said “it’s 50/50” as to whether a fly-past scheduled to go over the Mall and Buckingham Palace after 14:15 BST will happen.

It will consist of more than 60 aircraft from the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force – including the Red Arrows – but a final decision will be made just one or two hours before it is due to start.

BBC Weather forecaster Chris Fawkes said cloud was expected to “quickly thicken” during the morning with “outbreaks of rain moving in”.

“The rain will often tend to be light and drizzly, but a few heavier bursts are possible,” he said.

“The weather will slowly become drier through the afternoon, perhaps with some sunny spells to end the day.”

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