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King Charles coronation: Royals wear historic robes, guests don bold colors

LONDON — From traditional robes to statement headpieces, royals and guests wore an array of colorful outfits for the coronation of Britain’s King Charles III on Saturday, filling London’s Westminster Abbey with a mix of hues and designs.

The monarch arrived in the crimson velvet Robe of State, worn by his grandfather King George VI at his 1937 coronation, a crimson coronation tunic, and cream silk overshirt with royal naval trousers.

He changed into ceremonial regalia worn by his predecessors to be crowned: the gold-silk full-length Supertunica coat and Coronation Sword Belt, and over that, the gold cloth Imperial Mantle, originally made for the coronation of George IV in 1821 and the oldest vestment in the service.

An embroidered white leather glove was placed onto his right hand.

Charles was crowned with the historic St. Edward’s Crown that has been used since the coronation of King Charles II in 1661.

Queen Camilla arrived in the Robe of State made for the late Queen Elizabeth in 1953 over an ivory gown embellished with silver and gold floral embroidery by British couturier Bruce Oldfield.

Both left the Abbey in purple Robes of Estate — King Charles’ previously worn by George VI and Camilla’s designed by the Royal School of Needlework and featuring nature-themed embroidery.

“For the first time, insects including bees, butterflies, a beetle, and caterpillar feature on the Coronation Robe, drawing on the themes of nature and the environment and reflecting Their Majesties’ affection for the natural world,” Buckingham Palace said.

The Prince and Princess of Wales, William and Catherine, wore formal robes and mantels over their outfits, with the heir to the throne in the ceremonial dress uniform of the Welsh Guards and his wife wearing a headpiece made of silver and crystal leaves instead of a tiara.

Both she and her daughter Charlotte wore ivory silk crepe frocks adorned with embroidered rose, thistle, daffodil, and shamrock motifs — a nod to the United Kingdom’s four nations, designed by Alexander McQueen, the same label Kate chose for her wedding dress in 2011.

She paid tribute to the late Princess Diana, wearing pearl and diamond earrings once belonging to her, and to Queen Elizabeth, donning a necklace George VI requested made for her in 1950.

King Charles’ siblings wore traditional robes, while his nieces — Princesses Beatrice, Eugenie, Zara, and Lady Louise wore dresses or coats in fuchsia, blue, and floral prints respectively.

His son Prince Harry, no longer a working royal, wore morning dress.

Among the celebrity guests were actress Emma Thompson, also choosing a floral motif with a red coat adorned with rose designs and US singer Katy Perry, who will perform at the coronation concert in Windsor on Sunday, dressed in an eye-catching fitted lilac short-sleeved skirt suit with matching gloves and statement hat.

Veteran actresses Maggie Smith and Judi Dench, who has portrayed both Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria during her career, chose different shades of blue for their outfits while Joanna Lumley opted for a white-collared navy coat with matching white hat.

Singers Nick Cave and Lionel Ritchie, also performing at Sunday’s concert, wore three-piece black suits, while actor Stephen Fry added some color with a yellow waistcoat.

There were traditional outfits from across the Commonwealth and peers wore red robes.

Block colored outfits were also popular, with US and French first ladies Jill Biden and Brigitte Macron dressed in powder blue and pale pink respectively while Ukraine’s first lady Olena Zelenska chose a sage dress and coat.

Colorful hats and fascinators in fuchsia, orange, and red peppered the Abbey. — Reuters

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