King Charles III takes day off after busy coronation weekend

LONDON — On the third day of his long coronation weekend, King Charles III rested.

Monday was, after all, a holiday declared in honor of his crowning and he had spent several whirlwind days of elaborately choreographed public festivities capped with an off-the-cuff cameo on “American Idol.”

While Charles, 74, had no public appearances, other royals picked up the mantle of service the king had called for in declaring the “Big Help Out” that was said to draw millions to volunteer a couple hours on their day off.

Prince William, heir to the throne, took controls of a small backhoe with his youngest son, Prince Louis, in his lap as his family helped renovate a Scout hut in Slough.

After his father dumped a load of soil, the 5-year-old Louis, who has become a social media sensation for making fidgety faces during public appearances, wore a look of determination as he shoveled sand and piloted a wheelbarrow under the watchful eye of his mother, Kate, the Princess of Wales.

While painting the base of a planter later, he ignored his sister, Princess Charlotte, 8, who told him he had paint in his hair.

“Louis, look at me!” she said. “You’ve got to wipe it.”

When someone suggested he may grow up to be a painter, he replied, “No, a fighter pilot.”

It was the boy’s first royal engagement and he was rewarded later with a toasted marshmallow sandwiched between two chocolate biscuits.

“You won’t hear a peep out of him now for about 20 minutes,” his father quipped.

Louis took a bite, rolled his head back and staggered into his sister.

The volunteer work came after a weekend of pomp, circumstance and partying for the newly crowned king and queen in an ancient spectacle Saturday. Thousands of public picnics and street parties were held Sunday across the U.K. in honor of Charles before the concert at Windsor Castle.

During the show, Charles and Camilla were on their feet swaying to the music at one point. Other members of the royal family, including Charlotte and Prince George, 9, waved Union flags along with a crowd of some 20,000 gathered on the castle’s east terrace.

Charlotte and her mother, Kate, sang along as Katy Perry, dressed in a gold foil ball gown, performed her pop hit “Roar.” There were performances by the Royal Ballet, Nicole Scherzinger from the Pussycat Dolls, opera singer Andrea Bocelli and British band Take That. Even Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog made an appearance.

After the big show, Charles and Queen Camilla walked into a room at Windsor Castle on Sunday where “Idol” judges Perry and Lionel Richie — who also performed — were appearing virtually on the talent show.

The king, wearing a dark blue suit and tie, showed a sense of humor by name-checking one of the signature songs Richie had performed, asking if he was planning to do this “All Night Long.”

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