It should go without saying that King Charles’s coronation this Saturday will be one of the most lucrative events in recent memory. More than $120million is said to have been put aside for the occasion, with a hefty chunk of that going on security.
Yet mere days before the big day, an incident outside Buckingham Palace has left people shocked.
As per reports, a man threw items onto the Buckingham Palace grounds while simultaneously warning that he wanted to take King Charles’s life. Luckily, no one was hurt in the incident, but it was enough to make headline news the world over.
Now, the Palace has taken to social media to break their silence after the incident.
This weekend, for the first time since 1953, the UK will witness the coronation of a monarch. On Saturday, May 6, King Charles and Queen Camilla will be crowned at Westminster Abbey. Naturally, the schedule for the entire weekend is jam-packed.
What will happen at King Charles’s coronation – time, procession, route, ceremony
At 11am on coronation day, the royals will leave Buckingham Palace and travel in procession to Westminster Abbey. On the way back to the palace from the Abbey, more Royal Family members will then join.
The royals will travel down the legendary street, The Mall, as part of the procession. They will then go past Trafalgar Square, Whitehall, and Parliament Street before arriving at the Abbey before the ceremony and returning to Buckingham Palace.
When Queen Elizabeth was crowned in 1953, the procession took a far longer route than this time. However, King Charles and Queen Camilla will not give up anything in terms of the luxury of their travel arrangements. Reportedly, the couple will ride in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach on their way to Westminster Abbey – then use the 260-year-old Gold State Coach for the return leg to Buckingham Palace.
The day after the coronation will feature a coronation concert at Windsor Castle. Artists like Take That – without Robbie Williams – Lionel Richie and Katy Perry, will perform.
A “coronation choir,” a diverse group of community choirs and amateur singers from across the UK, including refugee choirs, NHS choirs, LGBTQ+ singing groups, and deaf signing choirs, are also part of the lineup.
How much does the coronation of King Charles cost?
The audience will for the event will be ten thousand people drawn from a ticket ballot. In addition, volunteers from charities affiliated with King Charles and Queen Camilla will also watch the concert live.
Charles and Camilla, along with the rest of the royals, are indeed looking forward to the big day. British media outlets have speculated that the coronation will cost around $120 million, though neither Downing Street nor Buckingham Palace has confirmed the exact cost.
Even so, the total sum for the coronation is said to be double that of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953. One main increase in the costs has been attributed to heightened security.
So what does the public really think of the coronation being so expensive? According to a recent YouGov survey, only 32% agreed that the government should fund the coronation. Others believe that the royals should pay for it themselves, not least after a recent investigation by The Guardian placed King Charles’ fortune at a staggering £1.8 billion (around $2.2 billion).
As mentioned, security at the coronation will be extremely tight. The streets along the route from Buckingham Palace will be packed with people. Over the weekend, many other events will be held to celebrate Charles’ ascension to the throne.
As such, the police and British military have carefully planned the coronation weekend to ensure the safety of all involved. There will be a record 11,500 police working the coronation in what is set to be the most extensive security operation in British history.
About 100 heads of state are set to attend the ceremony, and security services have been preparing for months. It’s not only the police who will be on hand to ensure peace at the event, but also thousands of military personnel.
“Extremely aware of the challenge that we face”
Security Minister Tom Tugendhat told the Times Radio that the coronation is one of the most critical security operations the country has ever prepared.
“The police are, to put it mildly, all over it, and our intelligence and other security forces are extremely aware of the challenge that we face,” he said.
So what will security look like on the big coronation day? As reported by Sky News, below is some of the military equipment and armor that will be used:
Tactical firearm units will have sub-machine guns and pistols on patrol, and several armed response vehicles will be on standby. Moreover, spotters will be on several sites and rooftops, alongside special police officers with snipers.
For the first time, there are also plans to use facial recognition technology to identify possible terror suspects and criminals that may attempt to blend in with the crowd. Sniffer dogs will also conduct random checks for explosives at transport hubs, and police will patrol on horseback.
Hostile vehicle barriers have been moved into place to stop potential terrorists from driving into the crowd, while a double layer of control barriers is set to make it impossible – if not at least extremely difficult – for any would-be attacker to reach King Charles during the procession.
But it is not only on the ground that police and military personal will be present. Sky reports that there will be three helicopters from the Metropolitan Police Air Support Unit from Essex in the air, together with other aircraft.
As of Wednesday, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Ade Adelekan, with the London Metropolitan Police, told Reuters there has been no intelligence of any specific threat to the event.
Protests are expected as King Charles is crowned
Besides possible threats, the Metropolitan police are preparing for the very real possibility that there be protests. Since King Charles took over after Queen Elizabeth’s passing, there have been several protests when he’s arrived at different locations, including people screaming that the monarchy should dissolve and even people throwing eggs at him.
Attracting the eyes of the world, the coronation, of course, makes for the ideal place to stage a protest, particular one tailored to be anti-monarchy. Earlier this week, a new law was passed to give police extra power to deal with protesters.
“What we will not stand for and what we will not have is anyone committing criminal acts in the name of protest,” Deputy Assistant Commissioner Adelekan said.
“We will come down very swiftly to intervene, to make sure that people that are going about their normal business that just want to enjoy the coronation are not interfered with.”
Despite said new laws, ani-monarchy group, Republic, is still set to stage a protest. They reportedly received a letter from the Home Office informing them of the new, extended powers the police has. For their part, the group have claimed it “could be interpreted as intimidation.”
Though security is as tight as it’s ever been in London as the coronation approaches, an incident earlier this week raised some questions about the potential for disaster come the big day.
At about 7pm local time on Tuesday, a man was taken into police custody after throwing what’s been reported as shotgun shells into the grounds of Buckingham Palace.
6-word threat to “kill King” by Buckingham Palace
The individual – who was also carrying a knife – screamed, “I’m going to kill the king.”
“He was in his thirties. He’s been here the last few nights shouting, ‘I’m going to kill the King!’” one witness told The Sun. “As soon as he placed the bag on the ground, the police jumped on him. They were shouting at him, ‘Get down on the floor.’”
Neither King Charles nor Queen Camilla was at Buckingham Palace when the incident occurred, but there’s no question that such a happening could leave the king and queen nervous about the coronation. The day after the man was arrested, Charles and Camilla’s official Instagram account issued a statement.
From the few words shared, we can surmise that they won’t be putting any extra energy towards a lone man trying to destroy their big moment. Their post showed military members taking part in an evening rehearsal before the coronation.
The caption read: “Three days to go… #Coronation.”
The suspect in question was also carrying a bag which he placed by the gates to the palace grounds. The Mirror reports that it included passports, a mobile phone, bank cards, a laptop case. The book The Happiness Advantage, about using positive psychology to “enhance individual achievement,” was also found.
Police conducted a controlled explosion of the bag
The man was arrested on suspicion of possessing an offensive weapon. Scotland Yard treated the disturbance as an isolated mental health incident, not a terror-related one.
“How was he allowed to get so close?”
“Specialists attended and, following an assessment, a controlled explosion was conducted as a precaution,” the Metropolitan Police said in a statement.
“Officers worked immediately to detain the man, and he has been taken into police custody. There have been no reports of any shots fired or any injuries. Further enquiries are ongoing.”