Coronations are elaborate rituals. The May 6th ceremonies marking the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla were no less. Despite the pageantry, the coronation stood out as an anachronism. Miffed British taxpayers railed against the coronation and asked whether it would be the last. Rich in symbolism, the rituals made no difference to Britain, its people and its doddering economy. Far from being uniform, excitement was sparse and sporadic across Britain.

Sensible Brits lost no time in flagging the coronation as an unnecessary historical hangover. Why coronate Charles III when Britain has no empire to lord over? Why persist with the pomp and the pageantry when the kingdom is long gone? The coronation was too much of an empty royal drama to keep the democratic nations of today riveted. Strange that an antique custom, a narcissistic spectacle, was forced on a modern generation of right-thinking Britons.

Questioning the Lavish Ceremony

Odd that the British society feels the urge to reaffirm at regular intervals its faith in the crown and love for royalty. Did this coronation bring the British people together? Did this crowning undo the Brexit? No, not at all. Coronations have long ceased to be moral articles of faith, which they were until the Fifties for the royalty-obsessed Brits. Neither Britain chases an opulent illusion of monarchy today nor an Elizabethan era needs to be recreated. More questions are out there crying for answers.

What did Britain get out of this coronation? Did this coronation uplift the 69m Brits? Why should crass coronations be integral parts of constitutional monarchies? Seeking answers, protesting Britons milled outside the Charles III coronation venue. They questioned the need for a lavish coronation ceremony when queues are lengthening at foodbanks, inflation is high and unhappy medicos-paramedicos are on strike.

Video Courtesy: YouTube/Guardian News

The Abolish-the-Monarchy War Cry

As they got no answers, they were not prepared to accept royalty shows as solutions to Britain’s vexatious problems. Republic, an anti-monarchy group, was among the most vociferous. The group clamoured for the substitution of the official head of state with an elected official. In its website, Republic said: “Hereditary public office goes against every democratic principle. And because we can’t hold the King and his family to account at the ballot box, there’s nothing to stop them abusing their privilege, misusing their influence or simply wasting our money.”

However, the coronation went on as scheduled. Protesters owing allegiance to Republic were seen on May 6th holding aloft placards crying “Not My King.” The group was entreating Brits to assemble in central London wearing yellow. Brits were asked to raise the war cry “abolish the monarchy.” As the protests gathered momentum, another group that goes by the name Our Republic joined in with protests in London and Edinburgh.

Symptomatic of an Uncertain Future

These protests are symptomatic of the discontent younger Brits have developed against the redundant royals. A popular poll shows 70 per cent of the youth, between ages 18 and 35, are uninterested in the royal family in general and in the coronation in particular. Though the United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy and the 74-year-old King Charles III is the official head of state, elected parliament is supreme in the United Kingdom with its powers to legislate.

Though the Sovereigns do not play an active executive role, they continue to be the “focus for national identity, unity and pride.” This is what the royals claim. The British youth does not agree. As the coronation happened amid protests, it was symptomatic of British monarchy’s uncertain future. Already, Britain is searching for its lost identity, even after the lapse of three years since Britain exited the European Union.

Stinking Heap of Scandals

Worse, nine months have lapsed since the Queen departed. As the country continues to be buffeted by strong political and economic headwinds, the coronation is only confirming the arrival of a new era of indecipherable uncertainty. How long will Britain live with question marks over its future? No one seems to have the answer. The coronation and a new king will not mean a new future. The more coronations happen, the more they will stay the same.

Ditto for British politics. Despite the loss of over 1,000 civic seats, the Conservatives will hang on to power. Yet, opposition Labour will have to find scattered support from smaller rivals to govern. Over the long haul, the Conservatives will be in for a rude shock. Public anger is rising against the tardy 13-year economic record of the Conservatives, who are blamed by popular media for leaving the country buried in a stinking heap of ugly scandals.

Threatens to Eclipse the Royalty

The monarchy too needs to be blamed. Young Britons are questioning again and again the relevance of a window-dressed royalty. They do not trust the royal family anymore. As resentment against the royals continues to snowball, a wider national-scale introspection on them is becoming necessary now. Searing double-digit inflation and fast-approaching recession are ensuring economic issues push out vague and nebulous themes about royalty.

A key issue that threatens to eclipse the royalty further is Britain’s future relationship with the European Union. This burning issue will soon move centrestage in British politics. Prime minister Rishi Sunak is keen on resetting Britain’s relationship with Europe and France, and settle its Northern Ireland trade dispute with the European Union. Sadly, Britain’s irrelevant king had no role to play in these significant overtures.

Former Colonies are Bored

What use is a King then if he is not needed in domestic politics? Why does Britain need a constitutional monarch if he is not supposed to have a significant say in national issues? The King was not expected, not needed to be precise, to put his imprimatur on Mr Sunak’s agreement with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen. Why then call that agreement the Windsor Framework, alluding to the King’s pompous family name?

Former British colonies around the globe are bored. Charles III is monarch of 14 such colonies. These colonies feel his coronation was a poor reflection of Britain’s fallacious fascination with royalty. European politicos are asking why continue with monarchy when the King has no powers to stop the appointment of a prime minister. The days of the monarch impulsively picking his prime minister are long gone. Yet, why is his approval needed for enacting laws?

Strangely, Charles III was already king on May 6th. He became the king when his mother Queen Elizabeth II breathed her last in September 2022, after spending 70 years on the Britain’s throne. The coronation will not vest in him any new power other than the assent he is expected to give to laws passed by the parliament, which he enjoys. Was the coronation then created soley for global television networks? Was it organised as a gala get-together for global leaders? This was royal narcissism at its best.

In Conclusion

The coronation of Charles III happened for some hollow historical reasons. Despite being secular, Britain seeks the sanction of the Church for coronations. This is jarring as the King does not have the power to rule by divinity in a people-powered democracy. No constitutional monarchy in Europe has a coronation solemnised by the Church. Republic’s chief executive Graham Smith said: “The coronation is a celebration of a corrupt institution. And it is a celebration of one man taking a job that he has not earned.” To most Britons, Mr Smith was only echoing their sentiments.