Wednesday July 24, 2024

Charles crowned in UK’s first coronation in 70 years

Both royals were crowned in Britain's once-in-a-generation ceremony

May 07, 2023
Britains King Charles III and Queen Camilla travel in the Gold State Coach, back to Buckingham Palace from Westminster Abbey in central London on May 6, 2023, after their coronations. — AFP
Britain's King Charles III and Queen Camilla travel in the Gold State Coach, back to Buckingham Palace from Westminster Abbey in central London on May 6, 2023, after their coronations. — AFP

LONDON: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday joined a galaxy of foreign royals, officials and heads of state and governments at the coronation of King Charles III, a symbolic ceremony combining religious service and royal pageantry. The prime minister arrived at Westminster Abbey along with other foreign dignitaries to witness the coronation of the 74-year-old king, who was crowned along with Camilla Parker, the Queen Consort. King Charles III became the 40th reigning monarch crowned since 1066. The ceremony marked the pomp and formality featuring the centuries-old traditions. The coronation was the first occasion in 70 years that a British monarch ascended the throne. Over 400 VVIPs, including 100 heads of state and governments, attended the event. Dating back to the 11th Century, the British monarchy is amongst the oldest political institutions in Western Europe. Before the arrival of the king, there were processions in the Abbey involving faith leaders and representatives, and representatives from some Commonwealth countries, carrying the flags and accompanied by governor generals and prime ministers. King Charles was presented to “the people”, a tradition dating back to Anglo-Saxon times. Standing beside the 700-year-old Coronation Chair, the king has proclaimed the “undoubted King”. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, performed the ceremony and administered the Coronation Oath to the King. He received the regalia, including the Sovereign’s Orb and sceptres before St Edward’s Crown was placed on his head. Later, he moved from the coronation chair to a throne. King Charles III became the seventh monarch to wear St Edward’s Crown after Charles II, James II, William III, George V, George VI and Elizabeth II, who last wore it at her own coronation in 1953. Charles’ second wife Camilla, whom he married in 2005, was separately crowned queen during the ceremony.

King Charles III has a special affection for the people of Pakistan, reflected over the years in his work through his charities and patronage of art. As Prince of Wales, he along with his wife Camilla Parker, then Duchess of Cornwall, visited Pakistan from 29 October to 3 November 2006 in the aftermath of the 2005 earthquake. Since 2017, the Prince’s Trust, a charity founded by the king, helps young people get into education, jobs and training, through “Enterprise Challenge Pakistan”.

The British Asia Trust, a charity founded by King Charles III in 2007 in collaboration with some South Asian business leaders, is aimed at addressing issues such as widespread poverty, inequality and injustice in South Asian countries, including Pakistan.

Shehbaz Sharif representing Pakistan, meanwhile, conveyed best wishes on behalf of the government and the people of Pakistan to the king.

Earlier, on Friday, the prime minister attended a gathering of Commonwealth leaders at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London. Speaking at the event, the prime minister noted that the accession of the new King, who is also head of the Commonwealth, opened new vistas and fresh avenues for the multilateral forum and was an opportune moment to infuse the organisation with even greater energy and sense of purpose. He underscored the significance of the Pakistan-Commonwealth partnership, particularly on youth empowerment and youth engagement. On the sidelines, he interacted with a number of global and Commonwealth leaders, including UK’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Secretary General Commonwealth Patricia Scotland. The prime minister is also due to meet First Minister of Scotland Humza Yousaf on Sunday. Hamza, who was recently elected by the Scottish Parliament to head the devolved Scottish government, is the first Muslim and first British Pakistani to do so. Pakistan and the UK enjoy a deep and enduring friendship grounded in historic affinities and abiding people-to-people linkages.

The prime minister’s participation at the coronation underscores the enduring and multifaceted ties that continue to exist between the two friendly countries, inter alia through the Royal family’s longstanding and affectionate association with Pakistan and its people. Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb, meanwhile, said that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had extended an invitation to King Charles to visit Pakistan. “The Honourable Prime Minister met King Charles on Friday night at the event and offered him felicitations on behalf of the people of Pakistan on his coronation,” the minister said in a tweet. “He also extended an invitation to King Charles to visit Pakistan.”

King Charles recalled his previous visit to Pakistan in his conversation with the prime minister, she added.