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THE LAST CORONATION ?

Updated: May 18, 2023

Sometimes I wonder why I write this blog? It is because it makes me think: put into words my impressions and feelings about things as they pass by. Today of course, it is the Coronation of King Charles.

One thing is for sure. We will not have to wait another 70 years for the next coronation. Indeed, even I may still be alive when the time comes. But will there ever be another coronation as such?

I am not looking for or expecting the end of the monarchy in England. Some people may shout, “Not My King’ (even though he is, whether they like it or not). But I do not for a moment expect any political party or a majority of the people on this island, to support the abolition of the monarchy as such. In due time William and Kate will become king and queen and enjoy widespread popularity. But there does not have to be such an elaborate and anachronistic ceremony as the coronation for that to take place.

William and Kate became Prince and Princess of Wales two days after the death of the Queen without any ceremony at all; just by the word of the King. Older people will remember the great ceremony at Caernarfon Castle in 1969 when Charles himself was made Prince of Wales by Queen Elizabeth. I suspect that the accession of William and Kate as King and Queen will follow the same path as their accession as Prince and Princess of Wales: minimal pomp and fuss. Perhaps there will be a coach and horses to the Houses of Parliament to be greeted by the Lords and Commons, as there is every autumn for the King’s Speech, but little more.

Other monarchies in Western Europe, such as Holland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Spain, have abandoned elaborate coronation ceremonies, and have survived. In their time William and Kate will no doubt go on mingling with the crowds, shaking hands with the public, initiating and supporting worthy causes, representing us on international visits, and William will go on receiving red boxes and visits from the Prime Minister, to let him know what is going on. But none of this has to be preceded by medieval and pre-medieval ceremonies. Times change, for better or worse. Nothing is gained by pretending they don’t. The monarchy should not be left behind. It is not an anachronism in itself. It is better than being faced every four years by the choice between Trump or Biden as Head of State. But the Coronation? That’s history.

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