The King and Queen heard a stark environmental message for the planet to be safeguarded for future generations and not left “baking to a crisp”, as Scotland celebrated their coronation.
Charles was presented with the symbols of his authority in Scotland – the Crown, the Sceptre and the Sword of State – known as the Honours of Scotland during a day of pomp, pageantry and prayer in Edinburgh.
Scotland’s leading figures, and representatives from the nation’s life, gathered at St Giles’ Cathedral for a service of thanksgiving and dedication for the King and Queen, also attended by the Prince and Princess of Wales, known as the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay in Scotland, and the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh.
The service came eight weeks after Charles and Camilla were crowned in an ancient ceremony at Westminster Abbey where the King made a pledge to “serve”.
The Right Reverend Sally Foster-Fulton, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, delivered the sermon, which took the environment as one of its themes.
She told the congregation that society will be on the “right track” if we understand that “the Heavens and Earth” are not “human commodities or possessions”.
“Blessed are we, on the right track are we when we understand that our children do not inherit this Earth from us – we have borrowed it from them,” she said.
“And it is our duty to return it still singing and surging and bathing, not baking to a crisp.”
Charles spoke extensively before becoming King about the importance of the environment, tackling climate change and protecting wildlife. He runs his Aston Martin sportscar on sustainable fuel and even recycles his bathwater at Clarence House.
On Wednesday, spectators watched a people’s procession make its way from Edinburgh Castle to the cathedral – a group around 100 strong, reflecting all aspects of Scottish society from the arts and politics, to education, civil society and business, including charities which the King supports as patron.
At its head was Shetland pony Corporal Cruachan IV, regimental mascot of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.
Protesters and royal fans lined the streets, with republican groups chanting “Not my King” countered by others shouting “God save the King”.
Participants from the people’s procession sat in the cathedral’s pews as the Moderator said ideals like “mercy and peace” should not be “domesticated or downgraded” but be the “fabric of our being”.
She also said that society is on the “right track” if people are “brave enough” to “choose collaboration and trust over fear-filled circling of our wagons”.
“Sisters and brothers, look around you. We are one global neighbourhood – intricately inter-related and completely co-dependent, woven together, like a tartan,” she said.
Scotland’s First Minister, Humza Yousaf, gave a Bible reading from the Old Testament during the service, and Olympic rower Dame Katherine Grainger carried the Sword of State.
The Rt Rev Foster-Fulton concluded by telling the King and Queen: “Your Majesties, you have made it part of your mission to speak alongside creation, advocating for it. As we present the Honours of Scotland to you, we commit ourselves to walking that journey with you.
“We are all a small part of something so much bigger – this beautiful, sacred creation and everyone and everything in it. Thanks be to God.”