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'Thrilling' scenes in NI on King's Coronation day

[Press center 1] time:2023-05-29 00:52:43 source:NBC News author:Press center6 click:92order

People across Northern Ireland have been celebrating the Coronation of King Charles III with community gatherings, tea parties and live screenings.

The leaders of Northern Ireland's five main political parties are in London for the occasion.

It is the first coronation since the King's late mother, Queen Elizabeth II, was crowned in 1953.

A 21-gun salute rang out from Hillsborough Castle in County Down to mark the crowning of the king.

Many royalists have travelled from NI to London to get a glimpse of the King on the Mall, in London.

Dame Mary Peters was among the first people on parade behind the King in her role as Lady Companion of the Order of the Garter.

The Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, the Most Revd John McDowell, presented the Sovereign's Orb at the service.

Seven pupils from Methodist College in Belfast were among the choir performing at the King's Coronation service in Westminster Abbey on Saturday.

Among the guests to attend the Coronation at Westminster Abbey was Irish President Michael D Higgins and his wife, Sabina, who also attended a reception for heads of state in Buckingham Palace on Friday evening.

Leaders of the main political parties in Northern Ireland - Sinn Féin vice-president Michelle O'Neill and her colleague Alex Maskey, the speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly; DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, his colleague Lord Nigel Dodds; Alliance leader Naomi Long; UUP leader Doug Beattie and SDLP leader Colm Eastwood - were also in attendance.

Royal Hillsborough lived up to its recently-granted royal status in playing a central role in marking the King's Coronation in Northern Ireland.

The grounds of Hillsborough Castle, the official residence of the monarch in Northern Ireland, hosted about 2,000 people to watch the ceremony on a big screen.

At the moment King Charles was crowned at Westminster Abbey, the cannons were sounded by reservists from the 206 (Ulster) Battery of the 105th Regiment of the Royal Artillery.

Ass Com Matt Wills, the most senior Army reservist officer in Northern Ireland, said it was "a fantastic day".

"What a day to celebrate and what a venue to be at," he said.

"It is an absolute privilege to be here and a privilege for the Army reserve to play such an important role on a day like today."

At Braniel Community Centre in east Belfast, some who have now lived through two coronations gathered to watch the service at a pensioners' tea party.

The lights were dimmed and a small group watched on a projector as King Charles was crowned.

Eleanor Bruce Cassan said it was "thrilling" to be watching the ceremony on a big screen along with others from the community.

She said she loves the Royal Family and wouldn't have a bad word to say about them.

Husband and wife George and Victoria Stewart watched the ceremony with their daughter Julie Hamilton.

Neither of them watched the late queen's coronation on television at the time "because we couldn't afford one", Mrs Stewart said.

But they fondly remember celebrating the occasion with a street party.

In west Belfast, residents from the Springmartin and Highfield estates celebrated with a family fun day, funded by the National Lottery.

Philip Brannan, from the Highspring Residents' Group, said it was a great opportunity for the community to come together.

On the nearby Shankill Road, a mural to the King was unveiled.

In Tullyally, outside Londonderry, friends Leslie Campbell and Gordon Riddles decided to dress up as king and queen for the day and attend the street party.

It was staged outside Tullyally community centre and families enjoyed food and entertainment in rows of tables decked out in red, white and blue.

Union flags and bunting fluttered in the breeze as the sun shone all afternoon.

Bouncy castles proved hugely popular with the scores of children in attendance.

Leslie Campbell said he was reflecting seriously on the monarchy and admitted he still hasn't got over the loss of Queen Elizabeth II. But his mood improved during the day.

"It's one of the best days of my life. I've been mourning since the Queen died and it's been very, very sad. But today is brilliant with our new King," he said.

Community Worker Catherine Cooke who helped organise the fun day said people were overjoyed to be celebrating the Coronation.

"It's great to see everyone coming out for this fantastic atmosphere," she said.

"The mood is quite buoyant and everyone is here to have a good time and enjoy themselves. Today is a day of celebration and to rejoice that we are still part of the United Kingdom."

In the most westerly county in the UK - County Fermanagh - locals kicked off the celebrations on Friday night with a parade in Lisbellaw.

There were royal-themed floats, organised by the Derryclavin Pipe Band and children dressed up as kings and queens.

Local people took to the streets in the small rural village of Donemana in County Tyrone to celebrate the Coronation and the place was awash with colour and spectacle.

Lisnaragh Road, just off Main Street, was closed so families could sit in deckchairs and watch a band parade.

Many dressed up for the day in Union flag dresses as red, white and blue bunting and Union flags adorned the lamp posts.

Pictures of King Charles were prominent, too, and in the local Orange Hall you could even have your picture taken alongside a giant cardboard figure of the King.

Community Worker David Buchanan was delighted the sun was shining on Donemana.

"This day has been a long time in the planning. We got the ball rolling with our funding application last November and we were determined to put on a great day.

"We've had many meetings and have now put on a host of activities for everyone. I'm delighted with the fantastic turnout because, as we know, many people in Donemana are huge supporters of the Royal family and our new King."

With a family fun day consisting of crazy golf, bouncy castles, face painting and children's rides - plus lots of ice cream - the party is likely to go on for some time yet.

Meanwhile, an anti-monarchy demonstration was held along the Falls Road in west Belfast as the Coronation got under way in London.

Lasair Dhearg, a left-wing republican group, organised the white-line protest along the middle of the road.


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