Shropshire Star

Cheers, crowds and champagne as capital celebrates crowning of King

One thing this country knows how to do well is play up the pageantry and enjoy a regal occasion.

The crowds went back all the way down Hyde Park in both directions

The Coronation of King Charles III brought hundreds of thousands of people from across the country to London to come together and celebrate as a nation.

Lancashire Lasses Nicki Sly, Vickie Taylor, Janet Bradley and Louisa Harris

Saturday, May 6 2023, as it was on Tuesday, June 2 1953 for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, was a day to put up the red, white and blue bunting and pay homage to the new monarch as he formally received the crown worn by his late mother.

Julie Buffery and Mandy Williams from Wales get into the spirit

While a wet day was forecast and there were sporadic showers through the day, it didn't dampen the spirits of those lining the mall to cheer on the King and Queen as they made the journey to Westminster Abbey in the procession.

Imogen Musson, Sophie Cowdell, Louise Bagnall and Alex Devers get the day started right on the train

The early train down to London from Wolverhampton was full of people wearing British flag outfits, including dresses, hats, boots and necklaces, as well as plenty of food and drink for the day ahead, from sausage rolls and sandwiches to cans of raspberry gin and bottles of Prosecco and Champagne.

It made for a friendly, convivial atmosphere on the journey to London Euston, with Alex Devers among those enjoying a drink and a laugh with friends and family on the way down, saying that she was a big royalist and very excited about the day.

She said: "It's once in a lifetime and something I'll be able to tell my kids about and I'm very excited about today.

"We're going to try and go to Green Park to watch it as we were in Hyde Park for the Jubilee last year and we nearly wore purple today because of it being a royal colour.

"It's a great way to celebrate the coronation though and makes you proud to be British."

Anita and Imre Tolgyesi Stanley enjoy a cuppa on the train journey

Other people on the train were Anita and Imre Tolgyesi Stanley, who had moved to the country from Hungary in 1956, and Mychajlo Fedyk, chairman of the Ukrainian Youth Association in Wolverhampton, all of whom appreciated the pageantry and what the King has done for their countries.

Anita said: "I've been looking forward to this day for a long time and I think what makes it is the camaraderie and the community coming together for a happy occasion as in a world with so much bad news, it's nice to have a positive experience."

Imre said: "I came here as a refugee in 1956, being carried over minefields, and I've always been very pleased with the hospitality we've had from the British, so I'm very proud to be here and be part of sharing this moment for the King."

It was like a fashion parade as several fetching outfits were on show

Mychaijlo said: "To be in London on this great day for our nation, to be with the people from all races, of all creeds unified as one in celebration of such a great caring man, a great King and to be a part of this historic special occasion of British tradition is simply overwhelming.

"Ukraine knows it is not alone as The King is with Us and for us Ukrainians we know that Our Cossack Dancing King Charles III will help to make sure Peace, Love and Harmony returns to The Freedom Loving People of Ukraine."

Wolverhampton South West MP Stuart Anderson was travelling down on business, representing the government as part of the whips office and as a lord commissioner, and said it was a great privilege to be there.

He said: "There's been a huge excitement this week, particularly in Parliament, and you can feel the build up to such a special event and, as a country, we do these events really well.

"It's going to be one that will be remembered for generations to come, so it is really humbling to be going there."

There were thousands of people enjoying the coronation despite poor weather

His feelings of excitement were matched by Claire Page from Northfield, who said she was looking forward to the event and said it was a good and positive event.

She said: "I do follow the royals and I think they do a great job and really are a good establishment and I think we need a bit of happiness at the moment, so I'll head to Green Park and see where the crowds take us."

Sophie Devers, Liz Devers, Louise Bagnall and Alex Devers, Kynn Devers, Sophie Cowdell, Imogen Musson, Nicola Wadelin, Neil Wadelin and Glenda Somerville get ready for the day at Euston station

From arriving at London Euston station, it was clear to see how much the Coronation had taken over London, with Union Jacks present across the station and the melodious tones of the King coming out of the speakers to welcome people to the city.

While quiet heading out of Euston, the London Underground became more of a hive of activity, with hundreds of people trying to get out of Green Park station to head towards one of the three viewing areas, alongside St James's Park and Hyde Park.

Free knighthoods from Jamie Sandersfield, John Baptiste takes him up on it

Lucy Taylor had travelled down from Cross Houses in Shropshire to take in the day and said she was determined to be there after missing the Queen's funeral.

She said: "I wanted to make sure I was here as I wanted to see the King getting crowned.

In the middle from Cross Houses, Shropshire is: Lucy Taylor and with her is Zita Plant and Viv Hipkiss from Rowley Regis..

"It's been such a wonderful atmosphere coming down and while I don't know how close I'll get to the big screen, it's enough to be there and enjoy a happy celebration."

Staff at Green Park did their best to direct the traffic and ensure that people could get out of the station and head towards the viewing areas.

Lauren Rutter from Yorkshire gets a selfie at Hyde Park

What was clear at 9am was just how busy the day was going to be and how many people were out, as the gates to Green Park were already closed to the public due to being full, meaning a 10 minute walk to Hyde Park.

The route along was full of colour and sound, from the members of a jigsaw firm knighting people and handing out free sweets to people trying to sell flags and other Union Jack-related merchandise, while bunting and other decorations could be seen up and down Mayfair and Park Lane on the way to Hyde Park.

It was a day for families to celebrate

The park itself was awash with colour as the plants had begun to grow for spring, while high-vis jackets were visible everywhere as security staff, volunteers and even Scouts helped to direct people towards the multiple viewing areas in the park, with two areas either side of the Serpentine.

The viewing areas themselves were huge areas, with toilets and water stops on one side and food and drink options on the other, while the masses gathered inside the area to get a good view of the screen.

Sweet taste of strawberries for Matthew Scott and Hannah Muller-Jones from Seattle (formerly Black Country) and Antonie Muller from Bewdley

The area saw two screens backing into each other, allowing for viewing areas on both sides, meaning that there were thousands of people on both sides, setting up their areas and chairs to view the events of the coronation.

Despite the rain coming in and going throughout, it didn't dampen the spirits of those attending, many of who wore ponchos and drank bottles of champagne and ate well as they go comfortable.

One pair who had planned ahead and stayed over in Blackheath the night before with their daughter Rachel and her friend Zsuzsi were Mandy Wellings and Sheryl Davis from West Bromwich.

Mandy Wellings and Sheryl Davis take in the event after travelling down from West Bromwich

They both said they were really happy to be there and said they had chosen to sit at the back of the area to ensure they could get away quickly afterwards and find a pub.

It was a day for families to celebrate

Mandy said: "We've been really excited to come here and be part of this and everyone has been so lovely, so we're hoping to have a fun time today."

Sheryl said: "This country really does know how to do it properly and it's a nice bit of history to be part of as we've never seen a coronation and I don't know when we'll get a big occasion like this again."

Birthday girl today from Phildadelphia Shannan Masloo

The event also had an international feeling, with French, German, Australian and American accents among those heard among the crowds.

Shannan Masloo from Philadelphia was one of those enjoying the day, which also happened to be her 52nd birthday, and was in jubilant mood, wearing an American flag jumpsuit and saying she loved the royals and the occasion.

She said: "Over in America, there's mixed feelings about the royal family, but I truly love them and absorb everything I can about them, so when I heard that it was coronation day on my birthday, I thought what better way to celebrate my birthday?

The big screens were visible across the park

"This celebration is so refined and my friends and I were saying that it feels like Fourth of July, where we would wait for fireworks and the like, but you guys have just such a class and elegance about this sort of thing."

The coronation itself drew loud cheers when the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall William and Kate appeared on screen, as well as a loud and proud singing of God Save the King.

Instagram star Ze French P from France offers a fresh look

It was an event for all ages, with children sitting on parents shoulders to get a better view and couples sitting together, while all came together to stand and cheer when the King was officially crowned.

It was a day for all to remember and savour and showed that this country knows how to do pomp and circumstances properly.

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