Across the world, superfans of “The Crown” say they are hotly awaiting the coronation of King Charles III like a new season of the hit Netflix series.
The royal-themed drama — the fictionalized story of Queen Elizabeth II who died in September after a record 70-year reign — has sparked even more intense interest now that her son has taken over.
Billions are expected to tune in Saturday to regal pomp and ceremony in the imposing surroundings of Westminster Abbey, which has played a pivotal role in the British royal family for centuries.
The coronation of Charles and his queen consort Camilla will start at 11:00 am (1000 GMT) and will be only the second in British history to be televised.
That means an early start for overseas fans such as Mimi Gill, who will be setting her alarm clock for 4:00 am at her home in Cape Coral, Florida.
Gill, a co-founder of “The Crown” Fan Club group that has more than 42,000 members on Facebook, told AFP she will be glued to the main event.
“The coronation ceremony is such a rare occurrence filled with tradition, celebration and a feeling of rebirth for the Commonwealth,” said Gill.
“It feels like we are living an entire season of ‘The Crown’.”
Interest in the British royals was piqued last year by Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations just three months before her death.
It has also grown due to the controversial decision by Charles’ younger son Prince Harry and his wife Meghan to quit royal duties and move to California in 2020.
“There have been so many happy and sad events over the past several years for the Royal Family,” added Gill.
“We’ll be commenting on every miniscule detail from what people are wearing to the weather.”
The fifth and penultimate series of “The Crown,” meanwhile, covered the tumultuous — and very public — breakdown of Charles’s first marriage to Princess Diana.
That sparked an outcry about its use of artistic licence, prompting Netflix to issue a disclaimer that it was a work of fiction inspired by true events.
The streaming service, which had 230.75 million subscribers in January this year, does not disclose viewing figures.
But season five jumped into its top 10 most popular series in 88 nations worldwide after release in November.
Tea and biscuits
Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation drew an audience of more than 27 million in 1953, according to the Royal Family’s website.
But this was before every household had a television — and long before the advent of the internet.
“The Crown” began its first season in 2016, with BBC archive footage from Elizabeth’s coronation blended with its cast of actors, helping rekindle affection for and fascination with British royalty.
The real-life coronation means global superfans like Lara Erana-Turbanada in the Philippines can now enjoy being a part of the spectacle.
“I guess it does feel a bit like living out an episode of ‘The Crown’ in real life,” she told AFP.
“Let’s be real: the whole thing is just a massive spectacle — the fancy outfits, the big crowns, the whole thing.
“It’s like the Superbowl half-time show, but with more tea and biscuits.”