FOR all the careful planning and minute-by-minute orchestration of the lavish ceremony to celebrate King Charles III, there was one feature which definitely wasn’t meant to be in the programme.

During the hour-long service shouts of “not my King” could clearly be heard during moments of silence – particularly during the key presentation of the Honours of Scotland.

The protesters, who were sited just beyond St Giles’ Cathedral where the service was being held did not see the King and Queen drive past. Despite that, they succeeded in making their voices heard.

There were of course devoted fans of the monarchy lining the Royal Mile from early in the day to catch a glimpse of King Charles, Queen Camilla and the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay – aka William and Kate when in Scotland.

READ MORE: Police arrest protesters at King Charles Edinburgh ceremony

For someone who doesn’t usually attend these events, going to the “mini-coronation” felt much like stepping into a bygone era.

Before even arriving there was the confusing issue of what to wear - with the options of “full ceremonial day dress, national dress or day dress with hat”. None of those things, as far as I knew, were hanging in my wardrobe.

After much internet searching I opted for what could probably be called a posh frock. Prompting one passer-by to comment “are there races on today?” as I made my way to Edinburgh.

Instructions only to bring a small handbag no bigger than A4 size were also issued. Was this for security purposes or to prevent a Succession-style scene where a character was mocked by rich partygoers for bringing an unfashionably large bag? I’m still none the wiser.

Amid tight security we were taken to St Giles around an hour ahead of the service starting, crossing behind black screens which had been put up across the road to shield the entrance from the public.

The National:

Ten journalists were allowed inside to cover the event and we were shown to our seats - tucked away in the corner with two large pillars obscuring the view.

Still, we could clearly see the backs of the choir and a TV screen showing what was taking place a few feet away had been helpfully provided so we could get some idea of what was happening. 

A programme for the National Service of Thanksgiving and Dedication (official title) didn’t help much with the feeling of having entered another world.

The procession of the People of Scotland included representatives from Trade Houses of Scotland, including The Bonnet Makers and Dyers, The Fleshers and The Skinners & Glovers. 

Meanwhile the procession of the Honours of Scotland – the Scottish crown jewels – listed the curious titles of “Unicorn Pursuivant” and “Linlithgow Pursuivant Extraordinary”.

With time to fill before the service got underway – and a view of, not exactly much – the assembled journalists seized on the opportunity to have a chat with a representative from St Giles.

We learned the Stone of Destiny, which was brought a short distance from Edinburgh Castle for the service, had been transported in some kind of van in an “administrative move”.

A bit of a contrast to the lavish send off it had when moved to London for the Coronation - with the total bill for the journey costing nearly £50,000, as The National revealed.

There were also questions about the significance of where the King and Queen would be seated during the service.

“They were just our nicest chairs,” the church representative said helpfully.

It’s still unknown how much the coronation in London actually cost, but my suspicions were growing the Scottish celebration wasn’t exactly on the same scale.

The service did have plenty of nice moments, with highlights including an array of talented musicians and a gospel reading in Scots.

Olympic rower Dame Katherine Grainger had her own “Penny Mordaunt” moment by carrying the specially commissioned sword – at a cost of £22,000 paid for by the Scottish Government – which forms part of the Honours of Scotland. The Crown of Scotland was taken in its own special car to travel to the service.  

Leading figures, and representatives from the nation’s life made up the 600-strong congregation, with Humza Yousaf (a republican) giving a reading as First Minister.

The Stone of Destiny also had its time in the spotlight, visible throughout the service on its own rapidly nicknamed "plinth of Destiny”. It had a special mention from the Lord Lyon – the monarch’s representative in Scotland – towards the end of the service acknowledging it as an “ancient symbol of Scottish Sovereignty”.

Blessings and greetings were also offered from different faith and belief representatives – including from Shia Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, Buddhist and humanist communities.

READ MORE: What people on the Royal Mile said about King Charles's Scots ceremony

An important sign of inclusiveness, but let's not forget it was still taking place within a ceremony for a monarchy which critics say is a profound symbol of inequality in this country.

The celebration of King Charles's coronation north of the Border showed two different takes which exist in the modern age.

On one side of St Giles, a noisy large crowd protesting the very existence of the monarchy, while on the other, supporters who had been there for hours patiently waiting to see a glimpse of the King.

Before the service, they had even been side by side – with one group waving Union flags and shouting back at the “Not My King” protest.

For some the pomp and pageantry of the royals provides an entertainment and inspires loyalty. Others are appalled at spending on lavish ceremonies and a privileged lifestyle for one unelected head of state and his family–- particularly during a cost of living crisis.

Surely what the mini-coronation has shown it that instead of shouting at each other in the street, it is time to have a real debate about the place of the monarchy in the 21st century – including whether it should exist at all?