EDINBURGH: Scotland marks the coronation of King Charles and his wife Camilla on Wednesday with a grand procession and a service of thanksgiving, where he will be presented with the “Honours of Scotland”, Britain’s oldest crown jewels.
Charles and Camilla were crowned in London’s Westminster Abbey in May in front of about 100 world leaders in Britain’s biggest ceremonial event for seven decades.
The 74-year-old succeeded his mother as monarch of the United Kingdom and 14 other realms when Queen Elizabeth died in September.
But in a nod to the historical fact that England and Scotland had different monarchs until the crowns were united in 1603, there are separate Scottish celebrations to herald his coronation on Wednesday.
Crowds gathered on the famous Royal Mile street in Edinburgh where there will be a People’s Procession, involving about 100 people representing various aspects of Scottish life, and a Royal Procession, featuring hundreds of service personnel.
At a thanksgiving service in the city’s St Giles’ Cathedral, Charles will be presented with the Honours of Scotland - the historic Scottish crown jewels.
These include the Crown of Scotland, made for Scottish King James V in 1540 and used to crown Mary Queen of Scots in 1543, and the Sceptre, thought to have been given to James IV by Pope Alexander VI in 1494.
The regalia also features the new Elizabeth Sword, named after his mother and made to replace one given to Scotland’s James IV by Pope Julius in 1507 but now too fragile to use.
“The Honours of Scotland have immense historical significance, having been present at many major ceremonial events over the past 500 years,” Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf said.
“Designed and crafted with care by some of Scotland’s finest artisans, the Elizabeth Sword is a fitting tribute to the late queen as Scotland prepares to welcome the new king and queen.” The Stone of Destiny, a symbol of Scottish nationhood brought to England in the 13th century and returned to Scotland in 1996, will be moved to the cathedral for the service, for which the king has commissioned five new pieces of music.
Charles will be joined by his eldest son and heir Prince William and his wife Kate.
A 21-gun salute will fire from Edinburgh Castle with a procession back to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. The Red Arrows aerobatic team will perform a flypast.
As at the coronation itself, there will also be protests on the Royal Mile by opponents of the monarchy, with polls suggesting the monarchy is less popular in Scotland than in the rest of the United Kingdom.
The question of Scottish independence is also still a prominent political issue and some who support secession also want an elected head of state.
“This pointless vanity parade in Edinburgh will cost Scottish taxpayers millions of pounds, and for what? So Charles can once again be centre of attention for a day,” said Graham Smith, the chief executive of anti-monarchist group Republic who was arrested at the coronation in London in May.