Fewer guests, less pomp: King Charles III. allegedly wants a much smaller frame for his coronation than for his mother 70 years ago. But there are also critics of this decision.
London – Soldiers in full dress uniforms and gun salutes, gold and glitter: the United Kingdom is all by itself at royal ceremonies. Magnificent robes and centuries-old traditions then gloss over everyday worries for days. It was like that at the state funeral for Queen Elizabeth II and, as many Britons are hoping, it will be like that at the coronation of King Charles III. be. Many have, at least from TV images, Elizabeth’s accession to the throne in 1953 in mind. But as the British media unanimously report, the celebration for Charles should be much smaller: the king shrinks the coronation.
No question: Charles’ “coronation” – which could possibly take place on June 2, 2023, which would be exactly 70 years to the day after the coronation of the Queen – will not take place in a small circle. About 2,000 invited guests are expected in London, as at the funeral service for his mother, as the newspaper “Daily Mail” reports. But that would be 6,000 fewer than in 1953. Instead of the three hours, the ceremony should only last 60 minutes. The Duke of Norfolk, in charge, had been instructed to organize a simpler, shorter and more diverse ceremony, the Telegraph newspaper wrote.
According to the palace, the king wants to modernize the outdated ceremonial and streamline the court. Dozens of employees were fired or transferred to other posts, as the media reported shortly after Charles took office. The slimming down also applies to the royal family: apart from Charles and his queen Camilla, fewer members now appear publicly on behalf of the palace.
How was the Queen crowned?
In addition, many traditions no longer really fit into the 21st century – and with their splendor also not in the time of sharply rising living costs. How should normal people understand that golden robes and valuable jewels are being worn in front of their eyes if they themselves do not know how to pay for their next meal, the reasoning in London is said to be. That was different in 1953. The coronation of Elizabeth a few years after the Second World War came at a time of pride and self-confidence. The Empire included many colonies. A lot has changed here.
But not everything should be different, especially since Charles is considered an advocate of tradition. Core elements such as the anointing with consecrated oil, the coronation itself and the oath remain anyway, as the “Telegraph” emphasizes. But instead of the velvet seats specially made for Elizabeth’s coronation, there will probably be simple chairs. And there should also be differences in clothing compared to 1953. At that time, the Queen wore an imperial robe that included 18 types of gold thread and on which twelve embroiderers had worked more than 3500 hours. Male guests are also more likely to wear suits than coronation robes. The language should be “understandable for a modern audience”.
How is the plan interpreted?
But not everyone likes this idea. “Rewriting such an archaic ceremony, which predates Westminster Abbey, is a risky undertaking,” commented the conservative Daily Mail. Rather, Charles should take an example from the Queen’s state funeral, a “solemn, moving and yet magnificent spectacle” that brought unforgettable moments.
Historian Andrew Roberts told the paper a streamlined ceremony could mean a missed opportunity to harness the monarchy’s “soft power”. Instead, pomp and pomp should draw the eye to Britain. “This is an opportunity to showcase the people and the nation on a global stage,” Roberts said.
Other experts are more relaxed. “King Charles has a very correct perception of public sentiment,” said author Ingrid Seward, who has written several books about the royals. The coronation will certainly be wonderful, Seward said. “It will fit into our time.” dpa