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It was a once-in-a-generation event where detail was planned down to the minute. There were, however, a few moments no one could have prepared for, or expected.
The Star (Wars) of the show
During the most important day of their grandfather’s life, Princess Charlotte holding her younger brother Prince Louis’ hand at the entrance to Westminster Abbey was a heart-warming show of comfort. For others, it screamed Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia.
While those of us watching along at home could peel ourselves off the couch and stare mindlessly into the fridge when it all got a bit dry or repetitive, the young royal, who is fourth in line to the throne, had a front-row seat and seemingly nowhere to hide.
With a lens catching his every move, Prince Louis was snapped pointing and yawning and found a second wind to sing God Save the King with gusto.
But he was notably absent at times when the cameras panned back towards his seat.
Apparently, it was always the plan he would be “retired”. Others have wondered whether he perhaps just needed the bathroom.
Either way, book-ending the ceremony was the way to go.
Katy Perry couldn’t find her seat
While the guest list was trimmed from the 8000 who attended Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953 to a mere 2300 for Charles’ event, those in the abbey weren’t just all British royalty, presidents and foreign heads of state.
Dame Emma Thompson, Dame Judi Dench, Dame Maggie Smith were there, as too Australia’s Adam Hills and Nick Cave.
US singer Katy Perry was there, although there was one moment where it looked like she might not have RSVP’d in time. Maybe it was just her UFO-like hat obscuring her vision.
Relax. She got there in the end.
Lionel Richie, who like Perry will play at the King’s Concert on Sunday night (Monday morning AEST), also scored an invite. He found his seat and turns out it was right next to former foreign affairs minister and prominent republican Julie Bishop.
Bishop was there through her role as chair of the Prince’s Trust in Australia.
The booklet of order provided to guests in Westminster Abbey stated that the “use of private cameras, video or sound recording equipment is not permitted in the Abbey”.
Additionally, guests were given a card that says: “Members of the congregation should refrain from taking photographs both before and during the coronation service.”
But that didn’t stop many, including Bishop, who took a moment to take a selfie with her new best mate Lionel.
Former politician Julie Bishop on her way to the coronation wearing a Zimmermann ensemble with a Nerida Winter hat; with singer Lionel Richie at Westminster Abbey.Credit: Instagram
Penny Mordaunt’s upper body strength
The London Telegraph labelled it the “Pippa Middleton moment” of the coronation, with conservative British politician Penny Mordaunt unexpectedly emerging from the ceremony as the quiet star of the show.
Penny Mordaunt says she trained for her role, which required her to carry the 3.5 kg Sword of State.Credit: AP
In her role as Lord President of the Privy Council, Mordaunt was required to carry the 17th century Sword of the State into Westminster Abbey and then hold it at right angles to her body for much of the service.
The thing weighs 3.5 kilograms, is 1.2 metres long and the ceremony went for the best part of two hours. Ouch.
Mordaunt, 50, was well aware of what she was up for, saying she’d been “doing some press-ups to train for that”.
Her stylish appearance in a teal cape dress complemented with a bandeau-style hat, also did not pass without notice, sparking the comparison to Middleton’s attention-grabbing appearance at the wedding of the Prince and Princess of Wales in 2011.
Some on Twitter observed that Mordaunt, who became the first woman to perform such a role in a coronation ceremony, only ended up with the gig because former prime minister Liz Truss appointed her the Leader of the House of Commons in a bid to keep her leadership rival out of the spotlight.
Memories of Mordaunt’s show of strength may live longer than those of the 44 days that Truss was Britain’s prime minister.
Princess Anne’s hat
Another who won plaudits for their role in the coronation was Princess Anne, who took on the role of her big brother’s bodyguard during the King and Queen’s procession from Westminster Abbey back to Buckingham Palace after the ceremony had finished.
On horseback, leading 6000 members of the military, the Princess Royal acted as the Gold-Stick-in-Waiting, and led the largest procession since her mother, Elizabeth II’s, coronation 70 years ago.
As impressive a feat as this was, her hat, was also attracting a lot of attention on social media.
It seemed to achieve something the royal family have been attempting to do for months – remove Prince Harry from the spotlight. Observers noticed it was a similar role to that performed by a strategically placed candle at the Queen’s funeral in blocking out his wife, Meghan.
While his two youngest children did their best to steal the show, one of the more touching moments of the two-hour spectacular which featured an array of historical regalia such as golden orbs and bejewelled swords, was between Prince William and his father.
The Prince of Wales got down on one keen to pledge his loyalty to the King, before kissing him on the cheek and Charles’ eyes fluttered upwards to meet those of his son’s.
Charles, viewers say, then got emotional and was seen mouthing “Thank you William” who himself one day will go through the same coronation ceremony.
The King and who? On the balcony, and a muted flypast
As the doors of Buckingham Palace’s balcony opened, sodden revellers could be seen sprinting down The Mall to catch a glimpse of the royal wave.
King Charles III and Queen Camilla were the first to emerge, followed by the Pages of Honour including Prince George, then Prince William, Catherine, Princess of Wales, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.
Viewers could be forgiven for needing a labelled diagram to recognise some of the other appearances, such as the Queen’s ladies-in attendance – Lady Lansdowne and her sister Annabel Elliot, and late Queen Elizabeth II’s cousin Prince Edward, Duke of Kent.
The gang’s all here. All working members of the royal family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. Credit: Getty Images
Prince Louis, five, chose a two-handed, rainbow-shaped wave motion as he leant on the balcony, at times breaking into a bop, while his eight-year-old sister held her composure.
Air Commodore John Lyle said the “original aspiration” was to have 68 aircraft, including some from World War II, meet out over the North Sea in a long train of formations for a six-minute flypast.
“To do that, you need the weather,” he told the BBC.
But London, true to form, rained on the parade and low clouds saw the plan scaled back to helicopters and the RAF aerobatic team, the Red Arrows.
Rather than a look to the sky for the royal couple, it was more of a ‘try not to move your head’ glance, as their weighty crowns teetered atop.
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