King Charles and Queen Camilla arrive for coronation
The day dawned overcast and a heavy drizzle fell for much of the morning but the King’s arrival at Westminster Abbey was an utterly dazzling spectacle.
The first sign of his approach came as more than 100 standard bearers from the Royal British Legion lining Parliament Square lowered their flags in salute.
Members of the RAF Regiment lining the approach to the Abbey’s Great West Door with fixed bayonets were ordered to present arms as a complete hush fell.
The glittering brass of the Household Cavalry Mounted Band came into view at the head of the King’s Procession as it made its way around Parliament Square in the rain.
The Sovereign’s Escort, made up of four divisions of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, with The Blues and Royals ahead of the state coach and The Life Guards riding behind, came to a halt.
The magnificent coach carrying the King and Queen, drawn by six Windsor Grey horses, continued on the few yards to arrive at The Sanctuary outside the Abbey’s Great West Door.
There was one minor hitch, as the King’s arrival at 10.47am was six minutes ahead of schedule. The King and Queen marked time patiently in the coach.
There was confusion too as Duke of Cambridge and his family, travelling by state Bentley in a motor cavalcade, had yet to arrive.
At 10.50am the bells of the Abbey rang out and two minutes later Prince William and his family arrived.
The Queen was the first to dismount and needed some assistance with her train before entering the Abbey.
A number of page boys, including Prince George, attended the King as he stepped down at 10.53am.
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There was something of a royal traffic jam as the Cambridge’s Bentley and security cars waited behind the coach.
But at last they were in, with William, Kate, Charlotte and Louis the last to enter the Abbey at 1058am. The bells fell silent as the service was about to begin.
It was a relief for the congregation of more than 2000 who had been arriving since 830am.
Police motorcycle outriders could be heard, whistles clamped between their teeth, clearing onlookers from the street as convoy after convoy arrived.
One of the moments of highest security came at 9.38am as Jill Biden, wife of the US President arrived in a heavily-armoured cavalcade of vehicles.
The 71-year-old First Lady wore a cornflower blue skirt suit for the historic occasion, with a pair of matching gloves and a blue bow in her hair.
She was accompanied by her 24 year old granddaughter Finnegan as President Biden himself was unable to attend the ceremony.
Shortly after 10am former Prime Ministers John Major, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron entered the Abbey followed a few minutes later by Boris Johnson and Liz Truss
A procession of representatives of the Commonwealth countries filed into the Abbey followed by the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his wife walking behind the Union Flag.
From then on cavalcades began arriving every few minutes with ever more senior members of the royal family entering the Abbey.
The Queen’s family, including her ex-husband Andrew Parker-Bowles were among the first to arrive followed by Prince and Princess Michael of Kent.
Then came the late Princess Margaret’s son Viscount Linley and the Middleton family.
Kate’s younger sister Pippa was accompanied by brother James, mum Carole and father Michael Middleton
She looked stunning as she entered the Abbey wearing a pastel yellow coat dress with a matching fascinator.
A cavacade of senior royals arrived at 1037 including Princess Anne and Vice Admiral Tim Laurence, the Duke of York and the Wessexes with their children Lady Louise and James, Viscount Severn.
After the King’s arrival the Jubilee Coach was drawn away to be taken to the Royal Mews, and exchanged for the Gold State Coach.
At 11am, Big Ben sounded the hour and the Sovereign’s escort moved off in silence as the service was about to begin.
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