History as a prince is
BIGGEST MOMENT ON WORLD STAGE FOR GEORGE AS, FOR THE FIRST TIME, A FUTURE KING HAS A ROLE IN A CORONATION
Holding his grandfather’s robes, Prince George played a historic role in the Westminster Abbey coronation that is one day expected to be repeated to crown him as the king. The nine-year-old, dressed in a scarlet tunic and carrying a ceremonial sword, was the youngest of eight Pages of Honour chosen by King Charles and Queen Camilla to form part of Saturday’s ceremony.
George, the first future king to play an official role at a coronation, appeared composed and serious as he aided his grandfather’s entrance. It marked his biggest moment on the world stage so far and provided the youngster a remarkable glimpse at his future.
As at the late Queen’s funeral in September and Platinum Jubilee last June, all eyes were on the Wales children, with five-year-old Prince Louis happily waving to the crowds lining the streets of London as he arrived with his parents in a black Dege and Skinner outfit.
He held hands with his sister Princess Charlotte as they strode confidently into Westminster Abbey.
Charlotte, who celebrated her eighth birthday on Tuesday, was wearing an Alexander McQueen dress and a Jess Collett x Alexander McQueen headpiece similar to the one worn by her mother Catherine.
Louis was later due to be taken out of the lengthy ceremony for a rest, before he was expected to meet up with his siblings and parents.
Veteran royal biographer Hugh
Vickers commended the move to give George an official role.
“Bringing George in sends all the right symbolism for the future and gives him something he will always remember,” he said.
George was joined as a page on Saturday by three sons of the King’s friends: Lord Oliver Cholmondeley, 13, Nicholas Barclay, 13, and Ralph Tollemache, 12.
But his cousins Archie and Lilibet – the children of Prince Harry and Meghan – remained behind in California with their mother to celebrate Archie’s fourth birthday.
In a reflection of a modern blended family, the Queen was shepherded down the aisle by her three grandsons, twins Gus and Louis Lopes, 13, and Freddy Parker Bowles, 13, as well as her great-nephew, Arthur Elliot, 10.
Gus performed his duties carrying the King’s heavy robes without a sling on his right arm, which had been required in recent days after he reportedly broke it in a bike accident.
Freddy’s father Tom Parker Bowles said before the coronation that he was not letting the pressure get to him, despite the coronation marking the first time the Queen’s grandchildren had been given official roles.
The King’s Pages wore a uniform first seen at the coronation of Edward VII in 1902, their tunics matched with silk satin waistcoats, wool trousers and boots, while the uniforms of the Queen’s pages paid tribute to her military affiliations to the Rifles and Grenadiers units.
The moment came 70 years after Charles, then aged four, became the first child to witness his mother’s coronation. But he played no official role in Queen Elizabeth II’s ceremony, instead watching alongside his grandmother and his aunt Princess Margaret.
Likewise, then-Princess Elizabeth and sister Princess Margaret, aged 11 and six, were both present at their father King George VI’s coronation in May 1937.
Westminster Abbey was covered with a “haze of wonder,” Elizabeth wrote in her diary, adding, “then we all went on to the Balcony where millions of people were waiting below.”
The Wales siblings were also expected to be a part of the wider weekend celebrations.
The 2300-strong crowd at Westminster Abbey also included Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor, 19, and her 15-year-old brother James, the Earl of Wessex, accompanied by their parents the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh.
Psychologist Catherine Hallissey said big events such as the coronation would have “a profound impact on a child’s life”.