It was his first public appearance as king: Charles III. stepped out of his carriage outside Buckingham Palace and shook hands with dozens of those present as a gift to the crowd.
• Also read: [EN DIRECT] A first day without Queen Elizabeth II
• Also read: ‘Thank You Fair Queen’: A grieving nation gathers in Buckingham and Windsor
• Also read: Charles III will address the British at 1:00 p.m. Montreal time
This moment was not foreseen in the protocol, so people did not hide their joy after celebrating Queen Elizabeth II, who passed away on Thursday. “We love you King Charles,” we heard. Hurrah rang out, applause too, under a ray of sunshine.
It was a warm welcome for this king who was far less popular than his mother, who was well loved.
Charles III, dressed in a black suit, shook hands with dozens of people who had smiles on their faces. One woman even gave him a “Please!” before kissing her on the cheek. Some sang the national anthem. “Thank you” seemed to be the answer especially to the king. He waved to those a little further away.
He went up several tens of meters, the crowd crowded behind barriers. The images, filmed by helicopter, show thousands of people gathered outside Buckingham to witness this historic moment as closely as possible.
With his wife Camilla, dressed in a black dress, he looked at the hundreds of bouquets that have been deposited outside the palace gates since Thursday. And for the first time as a king, he passed through the gates of Buckingham and walked side by side with the queen consort through the courtyard before entering the imposing building.
“We Must Love It”
“I saw the top of his head. I did not expect that. I was about to lay flowers,” college professor Apophia Othieno told AFP with a smile. “It was nice to see Charles, our future king, and also Camilla. It was exciting. It’s probably a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Stephen Johnson, a homeless man, stood outside Buckingham with the Union Jack and a picture of the Queen. This 56-year-old Londoner said he was “moved and scared”. “I feel like I did when Diana (first wife of Charles and mother of Prince William and Harry) died. I still choose King Charles III.
“Probably next year he will be crowned at 74. In 10 or 20 years, we might end up with another coronation,” he noted. “He is our king now, we must love him, but Diana’s memories are fresh. Just last month we celebrated the 25th anniversary of his death.”
Charles III arrived from residence in Balmoral, Scotland, where his mother died on Thursday afternoon. After landing in London, he drove through the capital.
Charles was scheduled to record his first royal address at Buckingham’s Blue Drawing Room, which was scheduled to air at 18:00 local time (1700 GMT). This registration required an official photo to be taken.
On Saturday morning Charles III. officially proclaimed king.