After the coronation, the British celebrate mass parties

After the coronation, the British celebrate mass parties

Ashley Green, UK: Banners in the colors of the British flag and a long table with a hundred covers: In the village of Ashley Green, England, Britons gather for a Sunday “big lunch” to celebrate Charles’ coronation but also simply for the pleasure of spending time together.

After the rain that caused the coronation on Saturday in London, the organizers of this lunch took no risks: the event took place under cover, inside the small village hall of this town in Buckinghamshire, northwest London.

Around 67,000 ‘big luncheons’ and block parties are held across the UK on Sunday, as part of the celebrations for Charles and Camilla’s coronation. The last two anniversaries of Queen Elizabeth II have already given rise to these festive meetings between neighbors and friends.

Participants brought home-made sweet and savory dishes to share. On the dessert menu: bowls of scones filled with jam and whipped cream, “summer pudding” made with bread and red berries, and endless meringue.

The girls wear holiday dresses, and ribbons of the colors of the Union Jack, the British flag, in their hair.

“I find it interesting,” Annette Cathcart, 67, told AFP. “I think we need this kind of thing to unite the community. (…) It’s a perfect way to celebrate.”

For Rob Barnes, a 42-year-old retailer who helped organize the lunch, the best thing about street parties is that it doesn’t matter if you’re a royal or not. This party is above all to “get together”.

“I didn’t watch the coronation. I did watch my wife and daughters, but I have mixed feelings about the royal family,” he says.

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Among the participants are the elderly, as well as children and adults with babies in their arms.

For Katharine Hyde, retired scientist and royal, the party represents the village at its best. She says the country needs more “community spirit”, praising King Charles for his work in charity.

A 50-year-old New Zealander from the nearby village of Chesham has ‘ambivalent’ feelings about the monarchy. But this IT director believes the country’s economic difficulties, with inflation of more than 10%, are “all the more reason to celebrate”.

Once the meal is over, the organizer installs a sound system and plays music.

When Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” arrives, participants stand up, wave their arms, and swing. Then the ceremony ends with the national anthem, “May God Save the King,” which sounded throughout the country on Saturday and Sunday.

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