After months of meticulous planning, and what many have dubbed a lifetime spent in wait, King Charles III has been crowned as Britain’s monarch.
World leaders and royals hailing from other nations gathered at Westminster Abbey, London’s iconic monument, on Saturday to witness an intricate ceremony in which Charles and Queen Camilla were anointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The coronation event was a show of pageantry that has long been synonymous with the British royal family; it saw the nearly 5 lbs. solid gold St. Edward’s Crown placed on Charles’ head to mark the role he took on when he ascended the throne last September, following the death of his mother and predecessor Queen Elizabeth II.
Charles was the embodiment of luxury as he sat on the coronation throne surrounded by vestments that were used in the coronations of his ancestors. During the ceremony, he changed into a white linen tunic with a plain collar known as the Colobium Sindonis, which he wore beneath the Supertunica—a full-length gold coat. Camilla was crowned in a modified version of Queen Mary’s crown. Many British citizens have questioned how appropriate the lavish display—funded by the U.K. government—is at a time when the effects of the cost of living crisis are felt at large across the nation.
The ceremony aimed to capture the essence of multicultural Britain by incorporating many communities and faiths into its historically Christian traditions; in his capacity as U.K. Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, who observes Hinduism, read aloud from the bible during the ceremony. Other faith leaders from Jewish, Hindu, Sikh, Muslim, and Buddhist groups entered Westminster Abbey together to greet the King.
Read More: Why King Charles III Will Be Worth the Wait
The public mood in the U.K. was mixed. Tens of thousands of well-wishers gathered in central London to cheer the King on his journey from Buckingham Palace. Fans and curious onlookers lined the 1.3 mile procession route to catch a glimpse of the King, despite the typically drizzly weather of spring in London.
Yet just a mile away anti-monarchy group Republic led a protest against the coronation, which is expected to cost some $125 million in taxpayer money. Even before the ceremony began, police had arrested several demonstrators, including the head of Republic Graham Smith, sparking anger from civil liberties organizations.
As royal celebrations continue to unfold, TIME has selected the most defining images of the historic event.
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