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With flags and fancy hats, Canadians join the crowds ahead of King's Coronation

LONDON - Canadians were joining the crush of jubilant royal fans who were converging on London on Friday, ahead of the first coronationto take place in the United Kingdom in 70 years.

Flag-draped tents were lined three deep along the road to Buckingham Palace as royal fans from all over the world donned fancy hats and plastic crowns, sipped champagne and took photos with cardboard cutouts of King Charles.

Over a dozen members of the Monarchist League of Canada gathered in front of a statue of King George VI -- the first reigning monarch to visit Canada -- where they unfurled a huge Canadian flag. They then laid bouquets of red and white flowers at the base of the monument and sang “O Canada.”

Sally Harris, from Ottawa, said it was important for her to witness the moment in history. She said the monarchists are hoping to watch the coronation procession under a big Canadian flag and wave at the King and Queen Consort as they go by.

“King Charles is the King of Canada and it was very important for me to be here because I think that in my lifetime this is the only coronation I'll ever see, so I wanted to be a part of it,” she said.

She said the scene outside the palace was “like a party,” with a safe and celebratory feel.

Security was heavy near the palace, where workers were setting up giant screens to show the coronation, as well as medical tents, bathrooms and designated quiet spaces.

The occasional thundershower didn't dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd, although it didn't do much to improve the appearance of the cardboard cutouts of King Charles and Camilla, the Queen Consort.

A big cheer went up from the crowd when they were rewarded with a glimpse of the real thing, as King Charles and his wife were seen leaving the palace in a motorcade.

Several of the tents lining the Mall -- the route to the palace -- were festooned with maple leaf flags. A mini Canadian camping section was formed by royalists from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Ontario, who met at the queen's funeral last year.

Futher down, Lynne Paterson had also draped her small tent with flags. The Toronto resident said she'd gotten her love of the royals from her mother, “who must have owned 60 books” about the family.

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