At 11:01 a.m. London time, hundreds of thousands of people sang in unison across the London sky: God Save The King. The British no longer have a queen. Long live the king. Story of a historic day.
Arrival of King Charles III at Buckingham Palace. Tens of thousands of people warmly applauded the new ruler.
This morning, a few hours before the royal proclamation, as I was leaving the hotel on my way to St. James's Palace, a taxi driver called out to me, “Hey! You know you're going to make history, don't you? »
Two hours before the official ceremony, the streets surrounding St. James's Palace were already packed. How many were they? Hundreds of thousands? Women in high heels, men with bouquets of flowers, old people, young people, children. They had come not to witness the historic moment, but to experience it.
Tens of thousands of people warmly applauded the new king.
Until 11 a.m., the crowd stood, patient and disciplined, behind the metal barriers. Courteous and smiling police officers directed this surprisingly silent human tide. Exactly one minute later, as if an invisible conductor had given them the starting note, these hundreds of thousands of people began to sing God Save The King.< /em>It sounded like a huge choir. No false note, a moment out of time. History that sings. The crowd then shouted three times, “hooray“. Then she was silent.
This is a poignant moment, a moment when we live the essence of what it is to be British, summed up Vincent Goodman who waited over two hours with his dog Schnitzel hoping to catch a glimpse of his new king passing by in a limo. Because the British present on this Saturday morning wanted more than anything to see him, this new King. Where is he? Is that his car?, they wondered on the sidewalks. Will he go here or there? The British know Charles, they have seen him grow and grow old, they have followed the vagaries of his personal life in the gossip magazines, but on this day of proclamation, it is something else. Charles entered their history. He is now, Charles III, their sovereign.
Crowds around Buckingham Palace waiting for King Charles III.
When we finally see the King drive past in his car, Ivanoh's lens catches a human's gaze, very moved. So what's going on in Charles's head? How does he experience history? The death of his mother?
In front of Buckingham Palace, flowers still accumulate in honor of the venerable deceased. Among the mourners, a little girl firmly holds a pretty bouquet of irises. From the height of her 10 years, Isabelle Bewers explains to me that she absolutely wanted to come and pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth who has done so much for her country. The country has a new king, of course, but it also lives the grief of the loss of its mother, a mourning that is articulated even in London businesses.
Crockery bearing the image of the Queen has been removed from the shelves of the Fortnum and Mason store.
One example among many: at the very prestigious Fortnum and Mason store on Piccadilly Circus, where tea and porcelain have been sold since 1707, tableware bearing the Queen's image has been removed from the shelves. It would not have been appropriate at the moment, politely explains the manager, Danith Kannangara.
In the street, in the souvenir kiosks, there are no more images, postcards, or sweets from the Queen. We have nothing left. Everything has been sold, says Michael Roberts in front of his small business of trinkets. And, Charles' mementos have not yet arrived.
All the products bearing the image of the Queen have found takers in the souvenir kiosks.
Perhaps this is living a moment in history, this moment in short, fleeting where History has not yet found its way on gambits or keychains.