Chiswick celebrates King Charles III coronation

Image above: A moment from the coronation of King Charles III

Street parties galore and a special flower market held to mark the occasion

As King Charles III’s coronation unfolded with all its pomp and circumstance at Westminster Abbey on Saturday (6 May), residents and visitors to Chiswick enthusiastically celebrated the historic event over the weekend, with many showing their deep sense of patriotism and appreciation for the monarchy.

Images above: Cream teas and caramel popcorn at Chiswick Cinema; photographs Chris Parker

Cream teas and songs for the King

Cream teas were the order of the day at Chiswick Cinema where 80 or so people went to watch the ceremony on a big screen, many of them decked out in red, white and blue.

Also on Saturday regulars at St Michael & All Angels Church and the Tabard pub gathered on the corner of The Avenue and Bath Rd for the Big Sing for the King, the drizzle failing to dampen their enthusiasm as they belted out some of the best known and most singable pop tunes from the 70 years since the last coronation.

SEE ALSO: Gallery of pictures from the Big Sing for the King

Image above: Robert Styles gives a Punch & Judy performance at Chiswick Flower Market

“That’s the way to do it” Chiswick Flower Market

On Sunday, the Old Market Place was decked out in Union Jack bunting for the Coronation Flower Market, with free Punch & Judy performances, live music and the best of British flowers on sale.

The market saw the biggest number of visitors yet. Some ten thousand people came to buy plants and cut flowers, to watch Robert Styles’ Punch and Judy and performances by the Urban Fox Steel Band, Chiswick School, W4 Youth, and the Chiswick Theatre Arts Performing Arts School.

SEE ALSO: Gallery of pictures from the Chsiwick Flower Market

The Big Lunch at Strand on the Green

Declan Donelly, the half of Ant & Dec who still lives in Chiswick, was among thousands who enjoyed The Big Lunch hosted by the Strand on the Green Association on Sunday. Dec, who used to live in Strand on the Green and now lives in Grove Park, stayed for a couple of hours chatting to people and enjoying the atmosphere.

Tables were laid out on the grass opposite the Steam Packet pub, and people could either buy lunch from the local pubs and stalls or bring their own picnic.

SEE ALSO: Gallery of pictures from Lunch on the Green

From intimate gatherings to vibrant street parties, Chiswick residents came together to honour the new King. Though there was a strong sense of patriotism in the air, some had reservations about the cost of the whole thing, considering there’s a cost of living crisis.

Here’s what some attendees had to say.

Image above: Khatijae Shakur, Chiswick Flower Market

“I felt a strong sense of patriotism”

At Chiswick Flower Market on Sunday (7 May), Khatijae Shakur, a Chiswick resident who watched the coronation from the comfort of her home due to health concerns, expressed her excitement and regret at not being able to join the crowds in London.

“I felt a strong sense of patriotism”, Khatijae told The Chiswick Calendar, emphasising her support for the monarchy and the symbolism of the ceremony.

“I watched it at home on the television, not with friends because I am still sort of shielding at the moment because I’m on immunosuppressants, so I have to be careful.

“I was very happy, it was a shame I couldn’t be celebrating it with anyone, but yes, I felt a strong sense of patriotism.”

Khatijae shrugged off what she described as the “negativities” surrounding the coronation, referring directly to the anti-monarchy protestors in central London.

“I don’t support [the protestors] view, so I was very happy to see Prince Charles crowned as King finally.”

Images above: Alfie and Monica Roberts (left), Max and Hannah (right)

“It brings out the best in this country”

Alfie and Monica Roberts, who were also at the Chiswick Flower Market, spoke of their admiration for the coronation. Alfie, reminiscing on Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953, noted how it brought out the best in the country and united people from diverse backgrounds.

“I remember I was six years old [when Queen Elizabeth II was crowned], I’ve now seen this one and I always think it brings out the best in this country when you see people come out in the streets like that.”

Monica agreed, saying that the event stirred feelings of patriotism and pride.

Of a younger generation, Hannah and her partner Max, who is originally from Austria, celebrated the coronation by attending lively street party outside their parents’ house in Ealing, which had around 50 attendees.

“We watched the whole thing yesterday,” Hannah said, “I thought it was great, I mean it’s good to see all the crowds out and everything.”

“We had a good time. I think especially Max, because it’s it’s his first coronation,” The first coronation for most of us, I said and Hannah laughed. “Yeah, that’s true, first royal event I should say.”

Images above: Strand on the Green party; Strand on the Green Association

King “should have saved a bit more money” 

Anne and Alex, who were sitting on a wall overlooking the Thames enjoying the Strand on the Green street party, recognised the positive impact of the royal family on tourism. Anne did not watch the coronation, but was eager to make the most of the weekend.

“I was out last night with friends celebrating” said Anne. “I’m here today too to try and remember this in a few years time, so I can say that I did actually do something over the coronation.”

Alex watched some of the ceremony, but wasn’t impressed with all the pomp in the midst of the cost of living crisis. “I believe the king missed an opportunity there,” said Alex”, I think he should have saved a bit more money. I think he spent way too much considering a lot people are struggling.”

According to some reports, the coronation may have cost up to £250 million of taxpayer money, partly due to the vast security costs. Official sources who were on the Operation Golden Orb organising committee have suggested a more conservative estimate of £100 million. Other traditional rituals, such as presenting the monarch with gold ingots, were axed for the ceremony.

“I heard different figures” Alex continued, “but even if it was only a few million, removing some of the jewellery was not enough considering what’s happening at the moment [with the cost of living crisis].”

“But other than that it was good, and it’s something that has to be celebrated.”

Images above: Alex and Anne (left), the Meledy family (right)

“Not the time or the place” for protests

Across the road, the Meledy family were making their way to the Lunch on the Green stalls with their children. Mrs. Meledy Sr, said she found Charles to be “visibly nervous” when watching the coronation.  She also said she felt patriotic. When asked how she celebrated the occasion, Mr. Meledy laughed and said “She drank a bottle of wine!”.

“We just came to sit on the green and have a wander really” said Mrs. Meledy.

Image above: Simon and Judy

“I watched it on my TV, my iPad and my iPhone”

Around the corner on Spring Grove, about thirty residents were celebrating with a private street party. Amateur musicians were playing instrumental music under a gazebo, while residents and their guests feasted on pork pies, prosecco and scones.

Simon, who lives on Spring Grove, expressed his appreciation for the pomp and organisation of the coronation.

“Yeah it was really good. Pomp like nobody else does it. Well organised” Simon said.

Sitting next to Simon was Judy, who lives near Chiswick Park station. She was visiting her friend who also lives on Spring Grove, though she was nowhere to be seen when we chatted. An ardent patriot, Judy immersed herself in the event by watching the coronation on multiple devices.

“I had it on my TV, my iPad and my iPhone.” I asked if she watched it alone or with family and friends, assuming she may have needed the devices for multiple people. “No, I watched it alone, do you think my family would have allowed me to do that?” she laughed.