HUNDREDS of worshippers, well-wishers and dignitaries packed Oxford’s cathedral for a service celebrating the coronation of King Charles.

The Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, the Bishop of Oxford, spoke of the ‘environmental catastrophe’ facing the world, as he delivered the sermon at Christ Church cathedral on Friday evening (May 5).

And the Bishop of Oxford described King Charles, who as Prince of Wales championed environmental causes and was an influential voice warning of the threat of climate change, as ‘surely king for such a time as this’.

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The prelate told the cathedral congregation that Saturday’s coronation service would encourage people to ‘look back’, to ‘reflect on the present’ and ‘reflect on the future’.

“The words of the service paint a picture of a still better kingdom. A kingdom of healing and renewal in the natural world,” he said.

“The world faces environmental catastrophe in our own generation.

“Surely Charles is king for such a time as this. A kingdom of justice as inequalities grow wider. A kingdom of peace in a world at war, forging alliances across the world. A kingdom of welcome and a friend in need to the many who are in distress.

“King Charles has prepared for all of his life for this moment. He is and will be a rich blessing to our nation and Commonwealth and the world.”

The service began with a rendition of Handel’s anthem Zadok the Priest, written for the coronation of George II in 1727, and closed with the singing of the national anthem.

Among those in the congregation at Christ Church were the Lord Mayor of Oxford Cllr James Fry, the Lord Lieutenant of the county Marjorie Glasgow, Deputy Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police Ben Snuggs, and the Honorary Recorder of Oxford Judge Ian Pringle KC.

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The Chancellor of Oxford University, Lord Patten, was joined by Vice Chancellor Prof Irene Tracey and other officials from the university.

At the University’s service of commemoration at St Mary the Virgin, held before the cathedral service, the Chancellor described the country as being ‘menaced by identity politics’ – adding that the planet was ‘confronted by existential threats that we have ourselves created’.

“Despite all this, our new king brings us a character and a dream that can encourage the flourishing of our best qualities and banish the worst,” he said.

Giving the example of King Charles’ Princes Trust charity, Lord Patten said the king had ‘already in his life understood the importance of bridging the gap’.