LONDON (NewsNation) — Coronation festivities have begun in Great Britain as the royal family turns the page of a new chapter with the crowning of King Charles III, the first event of its kind in 70 years.
Though King Charles III ascended the throne when his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, died last year, the coronation is a religious ceremony that provides a more formal confirmation of his role as head of state and titular head of the Church of England. Along with the king, his wife, Camilla, is being coronated as queen, a first for a spouse of a U.K. monarch.
A procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey starts at about 5 a.m. ET, 2 a.m. PT.
The coronation is the latest event to draw the world’s eyes to the British royal family, which has been rocked by tumult and scandal in recent years — from Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan’s shocking exit from royal duties and their subsequent onslaught of accusations against the family to Charles’ brother, Prince Andrew, being accused of sexual assault by a woman when she was a teenager.
In the days leading up to the coronation, polls show the public both in the U.K. and in the U.S. don’t really care about the event, with 64% of UK respondents saying they had little or no interest in the coronation. Meanwhile, Charles does not have the highest approval ratings among Americans, though he is not the most unpopular royal — a title that goes to his brother, Prince Andrew.
The pomp, pageantry and symbolism of the occasion date back to medieval times when English kings wielded great power. About 2,000 people from around the world were invited to attend the event in person.
The event — dubbed Operation Golden Orb — is more scaled-down compared to the 1953 coronation of Elizabeth. Even so, it is expected to come with a hefty estimated $100 million price tag, a concern for the British public grappling with an economic downturn.
Prince Harry is in attendance. Buckingham Palace previously announced he would be coming, ending months of speculation about whether the prince would be welcome after leveling charges of racism and media manipulation at the royal family.
How to watch the coronation
If you want to join in the festivities from across the pond, here is what you need to know to tune in:
NewsNation will be streaming the coronation live on this page.