“It hasn’t happened to me in a long time that there wasn’t a place to sit on a train coming from the airport,” says Czech woman Zuzana on Thursday afternoon as she drives into central London. Although her goal in the British capital is not the coronation of King Charles III on Saturday, she has felt the increase in the number of tourists as well as local businesses.
London (from our correspondent) – Class The Mall, leading from the official residence of the British monarch Charles III. on Trafalgar Square, is bordered on both sides by an iron railing. It has been impossible to get to the middle of the road, which is guarded by both the police and members of the units dedicated to work with the crowd, for several days.
The reason is clear at first glance: even now, the day before the coronation, clusters of people are forming here. Often wearing clothing with a British flag motif, others are seated holding a cup of sweetened tea with milk.
“When I compare it with the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, far more people realized how early it is,” Jannie tells Aktuálně.cz on Friday. She arrived at the place herself already at four o’clock in the morning. According to him, he tries not to miss any big event connected with the royal family.
Jannie hails from West London, but other people have traveled much longer. American, Canadian or Australian flags can be seen on their tents, in which they stay for several days before the ceremony. English dominates the crowd, but French, Ukrainian and Spanish are also spoken.
In addition to Czech tourists, airlines also confirm greater interest in travel to Great Britain during the week of the coronation. Compared to the first week of May in previous years, there are 11 percent more passengers. On Friday alone, 2,877 flights will arrive in Britain, most of them heading to airports near the capital.
Locals also confirm the greater number of people on the streets. The hotels are full and, for example, the cafe near Trafalgar Square, where the procession will go for the first time in seventy years with a ceremony approved by the king, sees an increase even in the morning, which is otherwise quieter hours. To attract tourists, the staff posted a photo of Charles III in the window.
“I can’t tell if more people are coming because of the image or just because there are more people in London now and we’re a popular tourist spot,” says one worker. “During the funeral, we also had Queen Elizabeth II in the window. But as soon as it’s over, we’ll take the photo down,” he adds quickly.
However, people also increased outside the area where the king will go, confirmed the stallholders at the Spitalfields Market. It is almost five kilometers away.
British flags and images of Charles III are absent from the centre. Many locals also took advantage of the two free Mondays, choosing a holiday in between and going out of town. Others head away simply because of concerns about crowded streets. However, Londoners who were contacted did not notice the larger restrictions associated with the coronation.
Interest in the event could give the island nation struggling with 10 percent inflation a shock source of revenue. According to estimates, people could spend up to eleven billion pounds (in conversion of 295 billion crowns) here for the whole weekend. Additional income will come from worldwide television rights – for example, three televisions will broadcast the coronation in the Czech Republic alone.
Video: Charles III. it will be very difficult, says the expert (5/5/2023)
Video: Video, Svetlana Witowská
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