Cut-price coronation: Why King Charles shouldn’t modernise the monarchy

From the Sydney Morning Herald:

* The British monarchy, like every other monarchy, lives or dies on its respect for tradition – that handing down of customs from generation to generation. By snubbing process and protocol in petty ways, the King shows scant respect for his predecessors. He also denies his subjects the chance to take their place in a great human chain that spans the centuries.

* Crowning is thus a sacred Christian liturgy, but in England it has also long since been a rite of contract. Kings since Henry I in 1100 have sworn oaths in front of their people to uphold their laws. The rule of law. It is surely right that Charles formally acknowledges his solemn duty to guard it in front of all of us.

* Making monarchy cheaper is unlikely to sway those who dislike it – and would abolish it – but it risks alienating those who do buy into its religious character or constitutional significance. The better lesson Charles could learn from pageantry’s novelty is this: it was developed at the dawn of the democratic age precisely because it gave the people who loved his great-great-grandfather the sort of spectacle they were asking for.

Charles will not generate much good long-term PR by taking the fun or the majesty away. Not even for having spared us the exquisite irony of Harry performing fealty to him on his knees, as would have happened under the old rite.

* No. Instead, we’re told this will be an inclusive coronation with multi-faith elements and all kinds of other nods to the diversity of modern Britain and the Commonwealth.

I’m sorry, but a coronation is inherently exclusive. The whole thing is predicated on the idea of investing office and authority in a firstborn male simply because he is those things. No other attributes or qualities required.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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