Prince William Invokes Late Queen in Tribute to King Charles After Coronation
Prince William, Prince of Wales speaks on stage inside Windsor Castle grounds at the Coronation Concert, May 7, 2023. Photo: Leon Neal/POOL/AFP/Getty Images
The late Queen Elizabeth would be “very proud” of King Charles on his coronation, his son William said on Sunday as he celebrated his father at a concert at Windsor Castle, and Britons held thousands of street parties in the King’s honour.
Amid pomp and pageantry, Charles and his wife Camilla were crowned at London’s Westminster Abbey on Saturday in Britain’s biggest ceremonial event in 70 years.
A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said Charles and Camilla were “deeply touched by the events of yesterday” and “profoundly grateful both to all those who helped to make it such a glorious occasion and to the very many who turned out to show their support.”
Charles and Camilla and other senior royals joined an audience of 20,000 members of the public and invited guests for the “Coronation Concert” at Windsor, the king’s palace to the west of London.
“As my grandmother said when she was crowned, coronations are a declaration of our hopes for the future. And I know she’s up there, fondly keeping an eye on us, and she’d be a very proud mother,” Charles’ heir, William, said at a speech at the evening concert, to huge cheers.
William paid tribute to his father’s service and others who serve, including teachers and hospital workers, many of whom have been striking in recent months.
Among the performers were singers Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Andrea Bocelli, pop group Take That and pianist Lang Lang, while Hollywood actor Tom Cruise and Winnie the Pooh also featured.
Charles was shown waving a mini union flag from the royal box and laughing at jokes, including one that labelled Charles, a keen painter, as the “artist formerly known as Prince.”
The festivities included a “Lighting up the Nation” event, with projections and laser displays illuminating landmarks and areas of natural beauty across the country.
Earlier on Sunday, the King’s younger brother, Prince Edward, his sister Princess Anne, and his nieces Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie attended “Big Lunch” events, joining some of the estimated 50,000 street parties being held around the country.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was among those hosting a coronation lunch, with the guests including Ukrainian families, youth groups and U.S. first lady Jill Biden.
At a street party in Hackney, east London, local councillor Joe Walker said that the coronation had been a unifying force as the country recovers from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic turmoil.
“I think especially after the pandemic and the lockdown, and during the cost of living crisis people need a reason to come together and celebrate and today it has been a really great day to do that,” he said.
Not everyone has celebrated the coronation, however, with anti-monarchists saying the “right to protest peacefully in the U.K. no longer exists” after some activists were detained for hours on Saturday.
Police said they believed the protesters intended to disrupt the royal procession.
Responding to questions raised over whether the police response had been disproportionate and curtailed the right to free speech, Culture Minister Lucy Frazer said she believed the police had overall “managed to get that balance right.”
In a surprise comedy sketch after the concert, Charles and Camilla interrupted Richie and Perry as they were relaying their experience of the weekend on TV show American Idol, on which the singers are judges.
Charles asked Richie whether the singers will be there “all night long”, in reference to one of Richie’s hits.
“I just wanted to check how long you’ll be using this room for?” asked a chuckling Charles.
“Thank you so much for your brilliant performance, and Katy, it was wonderful, it really was. A great treat to have you both here.”
The Big Help Out
After weekend of street parties and celebrations, Monday, which is a public holiday in Britain for the coronation, sees thousands of organizations get together for a volunteering programme.
Charles‘ son William and his wife Kate took part in “The Big Help Out” by visiting a scout group in Slough, near Windsor, with their children. Kate is president of the Scout Association.
It was the first royal engagement for their younger son Louis, 5, who pushed a wheelbarrow, played with a toy bow and arrow and ate marshmallows cooked on a fire.
Other members of the royal family volunteered at events around the country, as did Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and leader of the opposition Labour Party Keir Starmer.
“On the weekend, I think no other country in the world could put on such a dazzling spectacle,” Sunak told broadcasters on his visit to a lunch club just outside London, where he met diners and chopped parsnips and strawberries.
“It was deeply moving to be in the coronation service and incredibly uplifting, and it’s an experience I think that nobody will forget for the rest of their lives.”
(Reporting by Michael Holden, Alistair Smout, Ben Makori and Miguel Gutierrez in London and Liliana Salgado, Natalie Thomas, Ardee Napolitano, Hanna Rantala and Toby Melville in Windsor. Editing by Daniel Wallis, Frances Kerry, Barbara Lewis, Sandra Maler,Alison Williams and Nick Macfie)