I was quick to get my socks wet once I arrived at Green Park where there were already crowds of people shuffling along to get out of the tube station. I was shepherded with a phalanx of Union Jacks to Hyde Park, where they had a screening of the coronation on display. I arrived just as the crown was being placed on the King’s head. There were many cheers and waving flags.
The words ‘joyful’ and ‘glorious’ were repeated many times from the TV commentary although I did not see too many smiles throughout the day, aside from a fair few on the champagne. The rain was persistent, but did little to dampen the spirits of this loyal bunch who stood through it all in true royalist fashion. I have never seen so many flags, umbrellas and hats.
Everyone was quick to get their phones out in great anticipation for something to document, whether a policeman on a motorbike or horse van passing through. But for the most part, there was not a lot happening outdoors. Unlike a carnival or festival, it was a strange, music-less atmosphere as people made their way around as if there were somewhere to be.
Instead, we were carefully cordoned off by barriers and crowd control which was frustrating at first but I soon accepted this as part of the ‘Britishness’ along with the queues and politeness. The rain certainly made it a glorious day for photos, but it was pretty short-lived as people were quick to pack up and leave the area shortly afterwards—as if it never happened.
All that was left behind was lots of litter and the remains of red, blue and white strewn across the grass and pavements.
All images copyright Chris Lee 2023