Anti-monarchists hold 'not my King' signs at Commonwealth Day service

Anti-monarchy protestors heckled the Royal family as the King attended his first Commonwealth Day service as monarch.

Dozens of people held up yellow signs with ‘Not my King’ outside of Westminster Abbey as Royals arrived ahead of the service.

The King is set to speak about his desire to tackle climate change in a speech that breaks with tradition.

Charles will be joined by other Royals at the service this afternoon which will be broadcast live on BBC.

The protestors are members of Republic – an anti-monarchy group that want the Royal Family abolished – and they have said they will host a number of actions ahead of the King’s Coronation in May.

Speaking for Republic, Graham Smith said today: ‘We are continuing a series of protests against the monarchy in the lead up to the coronation.

‘Charles’s pointless parade will cost £50-100m and yet it is entirely unnecessary.’

‘In light of recent arrests, we’re determined to get the message across that it’s ok to protest against the royals.’

‘Increasingly people are either losing interest in the royals or turning against them. Instead of a pointless, expensive, coronation, we need a serious public debate.’

 ‘We believe the British public should be asked, do you want Charles or a choice?

‘The tide is starting to turn against the monarchy and we need a serious debate about its future.’

‘Republic will be protesting at the coronation, driving home the message that this is not a national celebration, but promotion of the monarchy at huge cost to the taxpayer.’

‘The time for change is here.’

Commonwealth Day is celebrated on the second Monday in March each year, with observances, speeches, exhibitions and cultural events across the 56 Commonwealth member countries.

The Prince and Princess of Wales will also be in attendance, for the first time since Prince William became the heir to the throne.

Also taking part in the royal procession ahead of the service is Prince Edward – who was given the title of Duke of Edinburgh on his 59th birthday last week. Along with his wife Sophie, now the Duchess of Edinburgh.

King Charles’s attendance at the service also marks a break with royal tradition, as the sovereign is to deliver a speech during the ceremony.

In previous years the Queen had her statement published on the order of the service and broadcast in its audio version.

The King will instead leave his personal mark today and read his message from the abbey’s Great Pulpit.

His much-anticipated speech is likely going to touch on climate change, the support for free and democratic societies and peace and prosperity around the Commonwealth and the world.

In another innovation, the King will host the Commonwealth Day reception at Buckingham Palace rather than Marlborough House, as has happened in the past

The service is to include a reflection given by Brianna Fruean, a Samoan environmental advocate who at 16 became the youngest recipient of a Commonwealth youth award.

The theme of today’s Commonwealth Day is ‘forging a sustainable and peaceful common future’.

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