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London: At coronation celebrations held on Sunday, anyone could wear a crown – even a dog.

A day after the gilded spectacle of King Charles III’s crowning in an ancient religious ceremony, festivities took a more down-to-earth turn with thousands of picnics and street parties held across the UK in his honour, no fancy invite required.

Under a leafy green canopy at Regent’s Park in London, Valent Cheung and his girlfriend showed up to cheer the new king with the neighbours who embraced them when they moved from Hong Kong. They dressed up their loyal and “royal” fluffy white dog, Tino, with a tiny purple crown for the occasion.

“This is a new era for UK,” Cheung said. “We didn’t have these things in Hong Kong. Now, we are embracing the culture. We want to enjoy it, we want to celebrate it.”

From small villages to the capital, the Union Jack hung on houses and flew from tables and trees in celebration of the newly crowned king. It was printed on napkins and tablecloths, hats and bows. Some even wore the flag’s colours like a uniform, clad in red, white and blue from head to toe.

Tino the dogs sits on a chair during celebrations In London’s Regent’s Park on Sunday.Credit:

The community get-togethers, part of a British tradition known as the ‘Big Lunch’, were intended to bring neighbours together to celebrate the crowning even as support for the monarchy wanes. Critics complained about the coronation’s cost at a time of exorbitant living expenses amid double-digit inflation.

Thousands of luncheons were organised as part of the celebrations on Sunday, which includes a nighttime concert at Windsor Castle featuring Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and 1990s boy band Take That. Charles encouraged residents to engage in volunteer activities on Monday, which the UK made a public holiday.

The king and Queen Camilla were expected to attend the concert, but didn’t drop in on any of the picnics, leaving that duty to other members of the royal family.

His son, Prince William, heir to the throne, and his wife, Princess Kate, surprised people who had gathered outside the castle before the concert. Dressed far more casually than the day before, they shook hands and Kate embraced a crying girl in a hug.

The Princess of Wales poses for a selfie during a walkabout near Windsor Castle.Credit:

The king’s siblings, Edward, the Duke of Edinburgh, and Anne, the Princess Royal, and their spouses took on lunch duty for the royal family.

Edward was in Cranleigh and his sister hit an event in Swindon. The king’s nieces, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, the daughters of Prince Andrew, were to join a lunch in Windsor.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak hosted US first lady Jill Biden and her granddaughter Finnegan Biden at the Big Lunch party held in front of his office. Other guests included Ukrainian refugees and community activists.

Like the picnic in the park, Downing Street and Sunak’s spread were festooned in the nation’s colours.

Sausage rolls and salmon were served along with coronation chicken and coronation quiche, which was picked to suit Charles’ taste and has been the buzz of social media, often for the wrong reasons.

Charles and Camilla said in a statement on Sunday that they were “deeply touched” by the celebration and “profoundly grateful both to all those who helped to make it such a glorious occasion – and to the very many who turned out to show their support.”

Not everyone was there to celebrate, though, and criticism continued on Sunday over arrests of more than 50 protesters, including members of a Republican group shouting “Not my king” and environmentalists aiming to end the use of fossil fuels.


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