King and archbishop are very pleased with coronation, says Dean of Canterbury

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The King and Archbishop of Canterbury are both “very pleased” with how the coronation went, the Dean of Canterbury has revealed.

The Very Rev Dr David Monteith, speaking from the Big Lunch at Canterbury Cathedral, said: “The King’s very pleased with the day and even the rain didn’t dampen the spirits.

“It was very clear everyone was out to enjoy themselves.”

Mr Monteith, who knows the archbishop well, added: “I think he’s very pleased with how it went and the feedback he’s getting from others suggests it’s gone down really well.

“One of the things that he noticed a lot was just how extraordinary the music was and how moving the music was, both some of the traditional music that was reused from previous coronations but also some of the new music that has been commissioned especially for the occasion.

“And somehow, when you get beautiful music and the ambience of Westminster Abbey and all the wonderful colours and robes and so on, somehow that carries the weight of the occasion in an extraordinary way, so I think that was one of the things he really reflected on.”

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Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby attends the Coronation Big Lunch in the grounds of Canterbury Cathedral (Gareth Fuller/PA)

On the archbishop’s relationship with the King, he said: “Of course there’s a privacy about that relationship that’s so important, that’s held special and sacred.”

The sun shone on Canterbury Cathedral as a few hundred people flocked to enjoy the Big Lunch in the precinct, with music from the Salvation Army band.

Reflecting on the occasion, Mr Monteith said he thinks the feeling from the coronation day has “spilled” into today’s Big Lunch.

He said: “I think that lovely combination from the seriousness and the solemnity of the service and then the sense of party on the streets, that’s a lovely combination that I think characterised the day.

“And it’s spilled over into this day afterwards – the cathedral precinct’s full of people here, the Salvation Army band played and people are enjoying their picnic.

“And when you start looking at whose here, you see there’s a real cross-section of society and at its best that’s what these occasions do, they bring people together and we need to come together at a time like this.”

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Michelle Downer enjoys the Coronation Big Lunch (Gareth Fuller/PA)

A woman dressed in a Union flag dress and head-boppers at the event curtsied when she met the archbishop.

Michelle Downer, 45, from Canterbury, said: “I did this really embarrassing thing. I curtsied to him.

“But isn’t it amazing to be at the cathedral and meeting Justin Welby?”

On the Big Lunch, she said: “I love seeing everyone come together. Why would you not want to be here?”

She added that she “didn’t move from the TV” for the whole of the coronation celebrations.

She then explained how her husband had been decorating and she told him he needed to change before coming in to watch the ceremony – which he took very seriously, changing into a waistcoat and tails for the event.

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