From small villages to the capital, the Union Jack hung on houses and flew from tables and trees in celebration of the newly crowned king. It was printed on napkins and tablecloths, hats and bows. Some wore the flag’s colours like a uniform: clad in red, white and blue from head to toe and extending to their fingernails.
The community get-togethers, part of a British tradition known as the ‘Big Lunch’, were intended to bring neighbours together to celebrate the crowning, even as support for the monarchy wanes.
Along with the luncheons organised to celebrate the historic event, a nighttime concert at Windsor Castle is also programmed, featuring Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and 1990s boy band Take That. Charles encouraged residents to engage in volunteer activities Monday, which the U.K. made a public holiday.
The King and Queen are expected to attend the concert but didn’t drop in on any of the picnics, leaving that duty to other members of the royal family.
Prince William, heir to the throne, and his wife, Kate, surprised people picnicking outside the castle before the concert. Dressed far more casually than the day before, they shook hands with members of the crowd and posed for photographs.
The king’s siblings, Edward, the Duke of Edinburgh, and Anne, Princess Royal, and their spouses took on lunch duty for the royal family. Edward was in Cranleigh and his sister hit an event in Swindon.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak hosted U.S. first lady Jill Biden and her granddaughter Finnegan Biden at the Big Lunch party held in front of his office. Other guests included Ukrainian refugees and community activists.
Like the picnic in the park, Downing Street and Sunak’s spread — even his teapot — were festooned in the nation’s colours.