LONDON: Several leaders and official representatives of Gulf countries were among the estimated 2,000 guests at the coronation of the United Kingdom’s King Charles III at Westminster Abbey in London on Saturday.
As announced on Thursday, Saudi Arabia was represented by Prince Turki bin Mohammad bin Fahd bin Abdulaziz, a minister of state and cabinet member, who attended the historic ceremony on behalf of King Salman. With him was Prince Khalid bin Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi ambassador to the UK.
Prince Turki spoke with the king during a pre-coronation ceremony at Buckingham Palace on Friday.
King Abdullah II of Jordan and his wife Queen Rania were seated close to the king and queen of Spain, Felipe VI and Letizia.
Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani made the journey to London alongside his consort Sheikha Jawaher for Saturday’s event, and the duo were also photographed meeting with King Charles on Friday.
The UAE delegation at the coronation was led by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, the vice president and deputy prime minister, who was also in attendance at Friday’s reception.
“Sheikh Mansour pointed out the significant role played by the late Queen Elizabeth II in strengthening the longstanding friendship that brought together the United Kingdom and the UAE since the era of the founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan and which was further consolidated during the era of the late Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan,” a UAE government statement said.
Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa attended the coronation and was accompanied by Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa.
“King Hamad exchanged cordial talks with King Charles III on the depth of the robust long-standing friendly relations between the two royal families and countries, affirming the steady growth of the historical ties between the two kingdoms across various fields,” the Bahrain News Agency reported ahead of the ceremony.
Meanwhile, Sayyid Theyazin bin Haitham Al-Said, a member of the Omani royal family, attended with the sultanate’s foreign minister Sayyid Badr Al-Busaidi, while Crown Prince Sheikh Mishaal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah of Kuwait attended on behalf of Emir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.
Other international dignitaries in attendance included US First Lady Jill Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, Japan’s Emperor Naruhito, EU Commission President Urusula von der Leyen, and Olena Zelenska, the first lady of Ukraine.
Biden was representing the US in the absence of her husband and her appearance marked the first time that a US first lady has been present for a British coronation.
She said there was “such beauty in the pageantry of the ceremony” and it was “just amazing to see,” adding: “You can’t imagine that moment where you actually see the crown being placed on the head of the king and then on the head on the queen. It’s really surreal to see and experience that moment.”