Flummery Or Grandiose Coronation?

Flummery Or Grandiose Coronation?
Throngs of people lined the streets for the thrilling coronation. However, many will also question themselves as to why they were present in the first place. To be a part of a historic event, to begin with.

How can one examine the event critically when there is little to compare it with? For obvious reasons, I missed the 1953 coronation, for I wasn’t born then, and neither was my father. However, I was appalled by how perfectly rehearsed it was – almost like the stagecraft of sorts – and how fleetingly stirring it was as a dramatic event. It seemed as dramatic as Pakistani politics.

While the coronation may appeal to the public, it is the monarchy that really depends on the masses. The people do not need the king. The king needs his people. The real power of performance lies in the hands of the audience. The coronation was nothing short of theatrics.

The lot that is told to get used to poverty remains the critical prop to the ostentatious excess necessitated by the royalty. The irony.

Although Charles has always stood apart from his (late) mother, his image projection relies more on glamour than his own personality. This is exactly why the public is expected to admire him, in case we disturb the display with disarrayed questions about the monarchy’s relevance.

Such thoughts may upset any shred of sense modern Britain is left with. The recent scandals have shown how dysfunctional the Windsors, and the royal family in general, has been, than the average Briton would like to believe. As I watched the coronation, it was not surprising that the royal magic has lost its touch. It was uncomfortable with the trending #notmyking especially when the uncertain gazes question boring traditions, undeserved riches, and inherited privilege – which brings the entire existence of monarchy into question. In the larger scheme of things, the future of the United Kingdom itself is an open question. This may have probably been the reason why protests were treated gauchely by the state.

It is clear that stringent policing of the opposition will evidently harm the royals more than do good. The royalty has garnered support and won the hearts of the people by doing good for the community. His role and performance will be judged by how he deals with the damage rendered by Charles I and Charles II. It will be interesting to see how a non-partisan head of state will hold relevance in an era strongly featured by polarised politics, more so in a democracy that lacks impactful checks on, and proper accountability of, the government.
Although Charles has always stood apart from his (late) mother, his image projection relies more on glamour than his own personality

However, the monarchy is not an impartial party in the corridors of power. As monarch, Charles may hold limited powers but as the Prince of Wales he did lobby ministers for his causes such as substitute herbal medicines. And now, as the king, he can covertly get a law changed, in his personal interest or when it disturbs powers entrusted to him before it reaches the MPs.

So more than a constitutional safeguard, the royal family comes across as a self-serving, ostentatious clan. They want the spectacle of magnificent events, yet their mere survival rests on battling the enticement of indulgence. The fairytale-ness of coronation may have been dazzling at one point in time and may have distracted the public, but that generation has gone. That country has gone. Whoever was cheering on the coronation, a tiny fraction is rooting for its return.

Britain seems like a fading power, but English has been a historic exporter of metaphors about the state of the nation. However, in the words of Shakespeare:

Not all the water in the rough, rude sea

Can wash the balm from an anointed king

(from Richard II)

Of course, it may have done little to change the hearts and minds of many. While stringent republicans must have dismissed it as immaterial, needless flummery, some keen royalists must have loved the grandiose spectacle that surrounded it. But even if we no longer believe in the holiness of royals, there was definitely something vast and divine in the coronation moment that was as surreal as it was immensely touching.