Canada, Australia, New Zealand mark King Charles’ coronation with 21-gun salutes

SYDNEY – Canada, Australia and New Zealand celebrated the coronation of King Charles III with 21-gun salutes in their capitals, after the countries’ leaders all attended the coronation ceremony in London.

King Charles is head of state in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and 11 other Commonwealth realms outside the United Kingdom, although the role is largely ceremonial.

Both Australia and New Zealand held events on Sunday to celebrate the coronation, with ABC television broadcasting a 21-gun salute in front of Australia’s parliament in Canberra.

A military flypast scheduled to take place afterwards was cancelled due to poor weather, Defence Australia tweeted.

In New Zealand, the NZ Defence Force said the army fired a 21-gun salute from Point Jerningham in the capital Wellington.

In Canada, dignitaries and fans of the monarchy gathered in Ottawa on Saturday to mark the coronation with music and poetry, as it unveiled new coins and stamps in his honour.

With Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in London attending the coronation itself, back in Ottawa almost 300 officials, military leaders and others took part in the hour-long ceremony in a hall across from Parliament that was capped off with a 21-gun salute.

Across the rest of Canada – some enthusiasts held viewing parties, but for the most part interest appeared muted.

A lone street protestor in Ottawa held a sign calling for Canada to abolish the monarchy, echoing the views of two out of three Canadians surveyed in a recent Abacus Data poll.

At the ceremony, Algonquin storyteller Albert Dumont kicked off the proceedings by recalling how “the power of the British sword destroyed the tranquility of gentle Turtle Island,” an Indigenous term for North America before colonisation.

“A new dawn,” he said, has brought with it a new king “who promises to strengthen the human bond between the monarchy and all peoples of the Commonwealth”.

Dumont was followed by the thumping beats of a traditional Indigenous drum circle, a lively Canadian folk music performance that had the audience clapping along and tapping their feet, and the unveiling of Canadian coins and stamps featuring the king’s likeness and royal symbols.

Featured guests included aerospace engineer Farah Alibay, who has worked on Mars rover missions and poet Sabrina Benaim, who spoke of a “coronation of possibility” as she cast a light on social issues including the global transition away from fossil fuels.

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