The King’s coronation service has begun, with the eyes of the world watching Charles and the Queen as their moment with history came a step nearer.
Charles and Camilla were welcomed at Westminster Abbey’s great west door by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who will anoint and crown the monarch, after travelling through the capital’s streets in a carriage procession.
Thousands of well-wishers lined the route the couple’s Diamond Jubilee Coach took from Buckingham Palace, with a few die-hard royalists sleeping in tents to secure the best spot to catch a glimpse of the King and Queen.
World leaders, prime ministers from overseas realms, foreign monarchy and the extended British royal family were seated inside the ancient place of worship.
Those invited included actress Dame Emma Thompson, musicians Lionel Richie and Nick Cave, presenters Ant and Dec and actresses Dame Judi Dench, Dame Maggie Smith and Dame Joanna Lumley.
Future kings, the Prince of Wales and his son Prince George, who will both play a role in the coronation, were in place and the Princess of Wales arrived with Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.
The Duke of Sussex was seated in the third row, two rows behind William, but the Duchess of Sussex has remained at home in the US.
The King will become the 40th reigning monarch to be crowned at Westminster Abbey, the nation’s coronation church, since William the Conqueror was anointed monarch within its walls on Christmas Day 1066.
Charles and Camilla’s Diamond Jubilee Coach arrived in the midst of a Sovereign’s Escort provided by the Household Cavalry’s Blues and Royals and Life Guards with their shining breastplates and plumed helmets and led by the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment band.
The monarch and his wife’s entrance through the west door was heralded by a fanfare from four State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry and the abbey congregation stood as one.
A large ceremonial procession was lined up before the King and Queen with representatives of all elements of the nation’s ceremonial and spiritual life.
There were recipients of Orders of Chivalry and Gallantry, Heralds from the College of Arms in their colourful tunics, senior clergy associated with the monarchy and the glittering coronation regalia carried by leading divs.
Among those gathered was double Olympic Gold medallist Lord Coe, a member of the Order of Companions of Honour, Willie Apiata, New Zealand’s only living Victoria Cross recipient, and Lincolnshire farmer Francis Dymoke the King’s champion carrying the Royal Standard.
St Edward’s Crown, the 17th century artefact Mr Welby will use to crown Charles, was carried by General Sir Gordon Messenger, Lord High Steward of England.
With their lavish and unwieldy robes, the King and Queen walked single file along the nave of the abbey with Camilla ahead of Charles as the hymn I Was Glad As They Said Unto Me was sung.