PRINCE William sealed his father’s coronation yesterday with a kiss on the cheek.
And the newly crowned King Charles looked back at his eldest son and said softly, “Thank you.”
The touching message between father and son – a symbolic moment between the king and his heir – came minutes after Charles III. the St. Edward’s Crown was put on.
William, wearing his Order of the Garter, took center stage on the gold carpet in the Coronation Theatre.
He knelt before his father, who sat in the coronation chair, and swore allegiance to him. Reading lines from a card to ensure he made no mistakes, the Prince said: ‘I, William, Prince of Wales, pledge my loyalty to you, and faith and truth I will render to you as your liege man for life and limb . May God help me.”
Standing, William then touched St. Edward’s Crown, then placed his left hand on his father’s right shoulder and kissed his left cheek.
Charles was seen saying “thank you” quietly and nodding appreciatively to his eldest son.
William, wearing his ceremonial Welsh Guards Colonel uniform under his robes, was also on hand to help his father with his gold super tunic cloak during the service.
Prince Harry had no ceremonial role at the coronation and was relegated to the third row of the royal family pews, squeezed in next to Jack Brooksbank. Shortly thereafter, he raced back to California.
After the ceremony, William, his wife Kate and children Louis and Charlotte joined the King and Queen’s procession as they left the Abbey – with the eldest George as one of the King’s page honours.
I watched the two-hour ceremony unfold among the 2,300 guests and marveled at the ancient service played out before millions of viewers at home and around the world.
The service began with the feeling of a relaxed corporate wedding, with guests arriving full of smiles and optimism.
Then it soon became a major constitutional event, steeped in 1,000 years of symbolism and regalia, including the acknowledgment, the oath, the anointing with oil, the robe of state, the jeweled sacrificial sword, and the heavy orb.
The pale, grim faces and dark suits seen at the Abbey just seven months earlier – as the nation mourned the late Queen – were replaced by joyful and expectant faces, with guests dressed in crimson, pink, lilac and blue were dressed.
I’m A Celebrity TV presenters Ant and Dec received cheers and some laughter as they waved to guests as they made their way to their seats in the nave.
TV screens were even set up around the abbey so that everyone could follow what was going on. Even the ushers wore earplugs.
Amidst the old traditions, as the king and queen arrived at the coronation theater, a lone mobile phone rang in the congregation.
Prince Harry cut a lonely figure in his morning suit, sitting in the third row, obscured from view of the congregation by Princess Anne’s red plume on her Blues and Royals uniform.
Meanwhile, the king and queen’s robes looked gorgeous on the blue and yellow carpets – specially chosen to show off the gold and red of their ceremonial regalia.
Then in the silent Abbey the St. Edward’s Crown was placed upon the king.
The glitter under the television spotlights and the candles hanging over the theater made the scene in the abbey far more dazzling than even the most expensive modern television would have revealed.
But after waiting 70 years for his crowning moment, the King wore St Edward’s Crown for just 20 minutes.
In two hours we watched Charles transform into a crowned king, with the congregation perhaps a little too eager to serenade him.
Twice we all got up too early to sing the national anthem.
But when the King finally showed up – now wearing the Imperial State Crown – the congregation sang “God Save the King” and sent His Majesty and Queen Camilla rejoicing on their way back to Buckingham Palace.
STAGES OF THE ANCIENT RITUAL
Here we look back at the stages of the royal coronation.
RECOGNITION AND THE OATH
THE recognition saw King Charles turn to each of the four cardinal points to be recognized as a true monarch.
To the east by the Archbishop of Canterbury. To the south of Lady Elish Angiolini, a lady of the Order of the Thistle. To the west by Christopher Finney, a George Cross holder. And finally to the north of Baroness Amos, a lady of the Order of the Garter.
After each had made their statement, the Abbey replied, “God save King Charles.”
Charles was then presented with the new Coronation Bible, which he kissed before taking the oath. It included a new line in which he pledged to “promote an environment where people of all faiths and worldviews can live freely.” Each part of it was framed as a question to the king, who put his hand on the Bible as he answered before signing copies.
He then became the first monarch to pray publicly at a coronation.
ANOINING WITH OIL
Perhaps the most sacred and symbolic part of the ceremony took place behind partitions.
King Charles removed his robes of state before taking his place in King Edward I’s coronation chair, which had been part of coronation services since 1399.
Shielded by the 1661 eagle-shaped ampoule, holy oil was then poured into the 12th-century coronation spoon for the Archbishop of Canterbury to anoint King Charles on ‘hand, breast and head’.
Rob the monarch
As the service began, the king donned a red velvet cloak that George VI had worn. wore at his coronation in 1937. Charles wore the state robe trimmed with lace and ermine.
For the anointing, the king donned the colobium sindonis, a sleeveless tunic made of white linen. Finally, the Supertunica, a full-length coat of gold, was placed over it, along with the Coronation Sword Belt – dubbed The Girdle.
These precious items are part of history, with the super tunic worn by King George V, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II.
REGALIA & HOMAGE
THE King was presented with his regalia – beginning with the golden spurs of 1661.
The jeweled sacrificial sword followed, followed by a small velvet pouch containing 100 newly minted 50p coins bearing the king.
Other items included the Armills Bracelet, Coronation Gauntlet, and Golden Orb.
Then came the key piece of the day – the dazzling St Edward’s Crown on his head.
The homage, led by the Archbishop of Canterbury and Prince William, brought the ritual to a close as millions swore allegiance to the king.