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Coronation is a ritual humiliation King Charles must identify with society's victims

King Charles will humble himself. Credit: Anwar Hussein/Getty

King Charles will humble himself. Credit: Anwar Hussein/Getty


May 5, 2023   6 mins

As the coronation of King Charles and Queen Camilla approaches, a subset of progressive opinion can’t help but vent disdain for the ancient ritual. Just Stop Oil is refusing to rule out disruptive action (we’re facing “civilisational collapse”, after all). A protester with the anti-monarchy group Republic told ABC News: “I think it’s a disgrace. To think this country is in a mess, and we’re spending out millions on a coronation.” A Guardian commentator sneered that if local cinemas show the coronation, it would mean “all the people who actually like that rubbish will all be in one place, and I’ll be able to go about my day unimpeded”.

While such animus is out of step with mainstream opinion, it’s clear that the coronation has lost its romance and even its meaning among much of the wider public. Two-thirds of respondents tell YouGov pollsters that they either don’t care very much or don’t care at all about the ceremony. Only 9% of Britons said they care “a great deal”, and that cohort tends elderly.

Modern Britons may well ask: why do we find ourselves locked into a ritual — a religious ritual, to be precise — inherited from the ancient past? Even if some share the Christian faith that underpins rituals like the coronation, can’t they practise that faith privately, without the need for a solemn, state-sanctioned ceremony involving bishops, priests, crowns, sceptres, and holy oils? Why do we need public ritual at all?

All this is a tragedy, because old rituals like the coronation can play a deeply salutary — and even progressive — role in societies otherwise wracked by modern capitalism’s cruel, arbitrary hierarchies. We human beings do all sorts of things that have no functional value in themselves but that help us communicate symbolically. We shake hands. We exchange rings. We are wired, it seems, for ritual: a pattern of words and actions characterised by formality, rigidity, and repetition. The closest analogous human behaviour, according to many anthropologists, is children’s games.

In the middle of the last century, a husband-and-wife team of British anthropologists travelled to Africa in an attempt to scientifically understand the ritual process. Specifically, they sought the meaning of religious rites among traditional tribes; ultimately, it awakened them to the indispensability of ritual for decent societies.

Victor Witter Turner was born in 1920 in Glasgow. As a teenager, under the tutelage of an Anglican priest, he was drawn to mystical traditions. But by the time “Vic” entered university and married, he had become a card-carrying Communist. His wife, “Edie”, had also embraced Marxism early on, because it was a worldview “wrung clean of religion”.

In the late Forties, the couple discovered Margaret Mead’s Coming of Age in Samoa in a public library. It inspired Vic to study anthropology: he was thrilled by the thought of living hand-to-mouth in remote places, and drawn, too, to the “neat social systems among indigenous islanders” that seemed to exist “like an organism with its own social structural laws”. He worked under Max Gluckman, the legendary leader of the structural anthropology movement based at the University of Manchester, who dispatched Vic to central Africa to study “chieftainship politics”.

Ritual, of course, was central to defining the individual’s roles within the “neat social systems” in which he was interested. For example, many tribal peoples mark the passage from childhood to adulthood with highly elaborate rites, whereas in the modern West, childhood often merges imperceptibly with adulthood, leaving it to each individual to figure out what it means to “come of age”.

Many anthropologists then dismissed tribal ritual as the unintelligible mumbo-jumbo of a “simpler” people. But in 1951, Gluckman sent Vic a telegram urging him to switch to researching the religious practises of the Ndembu people of south central Africa. Edie came along. The Turners’ time among the Ndembu convinced them that such supercilious attitudes were false. “In matters of ritual as of art,” Vic would write years later in his seminal 1969 text, The Ritual Process, “there are no ‘simpler’ peoples, only peoples with simpler technologies than our own. Man’s imaginative and emotional life is always and everywhere rich and complex.”

Zambia, where the Turners encountered the people, was then a British colony known as Northern Rhodesia. Nevertheless, the Ndembu welcomed the foreign couple’s attempts to understand their rituals, even inviting them to participate. The Turners studied the Isoma, a rite that treated women suffering from infertility. The central action of the ritual involved the afflicted woman and her husband walking in the nude several times between two holes, one identified as “cold” and the other “hot”, representing both the grave and the birth canal. In this way, the ritual reconciled the once-warring communities of the living and the dead.

The Dutch-German anthropologist Arnold van Gennep, whose ideas the Turners borrowed, taught that every rite involves three stages. First, a separation, when the subjects are removed from the social structure. Next, the liminal stage, when the subjects become indeterminate, ambiguous, outcast even: during the core action of the Isoma, the afflicted couple no longer occupy their symbolic roles as husband and wife; their nakedness signifies that they are more like new-borns, or the dead. Finally, there is a reaggregation, when the subjects return to the social structure, either in a new condition — a boy emerges as a man after the extreme trials of the coming-of-age ritual — or merely restored to their prior condition — the afflicted couple now “healed” by Isoma.

The Turners focused their analysis on the middle stage. As Vic explained, liminal beings “are neither here nor there; they are betwixt and between the positions assigned and arrayed by law, custom, convention, and ceremonial”. To become liminal is to assume a transcendent vulnerability; it is the condition of Christ on the Cross. The humiliation of the liminal subject, for the Turners, fostered communitas, a state apart from the structured hierarchies we inhabit most of our lives. Communitas, a primordial state beyond rank and class, reminds us that the high and mighty have their status only in relation to the low, and “he who is high must experience what it is like to be low”.

Before he assumed power, a Ndembu chieftain had to undergo ritual humiliation at the hands of a mythic figure known as the Kafwana; coded female, she was associated with the land and the people who tilled it, those who weren’t politically or militarily strong but who nevertheless possessed a sacral power. Among other things, the chieftain-to-be had to absorb a barrage of insults and criticisms from other villagers; once installed, he didn’t dare hold it against the people. In this way, the religious ritual taught the chieftain that he was first and foremost a servant.

By humbling himself, and dispensing with his normal privileges, the one undergoing the ritual must recognises what Vic called “humankindness”: “a generic bond between men.” Without it, the hierarchical community has no qualms about excluding and even destroying the weak. Far from locking people into the past, then, ritual allows them to confront present and future challenges. Ritual, in this telling, humanises societies.

On the surface, the coronation of King Charles and Queen Camilla is about as distant as can be from the chieftainship ritual of the Ndembu people. But the rite’s underlying structures are are shockingly similar. The Anglican ceremonial adds several layers of Christian symbolism, not to mention genteel ornamentation — all of which softens the liminal humiliation of the king-to-be and his bride — but the fundamental process is the same.

First, there is the separation of the ritual subjects — Charles and Camilla — from humdrum British reality. This is marked by their carriage ride to Westminster Abbey. Next comes the liminal stage, where Charles’s face is literally covered by Anglican churchmen, using a canopy of golden cloth, known as the anointing screen. The covering shields the most sacred element of the ritual from prying eyes, but it also means that Charles is erased as an individual.

The core action of the liminal stage is the anointing of king’s hands, breast, and head with oil. In the Bible, such oils are the mark of the self-sacrificing King of Kings: Jesus is anointed before he is to undergo his passion, death, and burial. Once the screen is removed, the anointed king will kneel at the high altar while the archbishop recalls how “Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God … was anointed with the Oil of gladness above his fellows.” Thus Charles, as a Christian statesman, is united with the sacrifice of Christ. He is giving up something, trading his personality for that of the sovereign, dutybound to serve the commonweal.

Finally, there is Charles’s reaggregation: he re-enters society with elevated status, symbolised by the crown and sceptre. But again, this occurs only after he has ritually identified himself with society’s victims — indeed, with the anointed Victim. All this marks him out as the servant-ruler of the British people, rather than merely a king.

Today’s economic hierarchies tell the winners that they owe their status to no one and nothing but their own “meritocratic” efforts. This isn’t, in fact, true: study after study demonstrates that social mobility has stalled, especially in the Anglosphere. But it makes for particularly obnoxious elites: if they owe their status to no one, then they also have no obligations to society’s losers. Against such a backdrop, Britain’s traditional monarchic rituals, not least the coronation, are a very different, and much-needed, account of what the high owes the low.

When we glimpse the communitas lying beyond everyday structures — when we leave behind profane everyday reality to play the solemn, cosmic game of ritual — we are possessed by a vision of what society could or should look like. Here, the mighty chieftain submits to the lowly Kafwana. Here, the omnipotent Son of God consents to be humiliated. And His Majesty the King consents to follow the mortified god-man, even into the tomb.


Sohrab Ahmari is a founder and editor of Compact and author of the forthcoming Tyranny, Inc: How Private Power Crushed American Liberty — and What To Do About It

SohrabAhmari

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Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago

A generally good rule is that anything that is sneered at by the Guardian must have some intrinsic value even if that value is not immediately apparent.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago

A generally good rule is that anything that is sneered at by the Guardian must have some intrinsic value even if that value is not immediately apparent.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago

The subject of rituals is something I find myself banging on about more and more these days. And I am of the opinion that throwing all rituals on the pyre for the sake of saying “we are a modern society” will not necessarily improve the human experience of the members of that society.
Abolishing the monarchy in exchange for an elected head of state is to exchange ritual for process. It would be more democratic and more in-keeping with modern trends – but would it really be the improvement we think it might be? Has modernity always changed our lives for the better, or is it just making us disconnected, unhappy and spiritually poorer? Both, I think.
I believe that the changes that are coming at us down the pike in the next years and decades will actually result in a renaissance of ritual. As the world order we have known crumbles and things we believed were hard and fast truths turn out to be illusions, people will turn to ritual (possibly even back to organised religion) to seek meaning and stability.
Will it bring a revival in interest for the monarchy? No idea. The coronation at least gives us chance to reawaken a sense of the importance of ritual – if only people are curious and open-minded enough to look to see what they might discover for themselves.
If you’re a republican, ambivalent, or just not that into it – I get it. But loudly and proudly proclaiming “WELL I’M GOING TO BE IN SAINSBURY’S!!!!” to anyone who might hear does rather signal your own spiritual poverty.

Josh Allan
Josh Allan
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I am equally comforted and disturbed by the knowledge that the ideologies which threaten the monarchy are much more unsustainable than this 1000+ year-old institution.
And I genuinely feel sorry for anyone who finds a shopping trip more meaningful than a national ceremony. The term ‘npc’ comes to mind.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Put simply, Chesterton’s Fence.

Caradog Wiliams
Caradog Wiliams
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I agree. Who in their right mind would go to Sainsbury’s for the day? Over here we have a very welcoming place called Aldi’s, where you get a superior sort of people.

Andrew Stoll
Andrew Stoll
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I see ‘organised religion’ everywhere, especially among greens & environmentalists, in ‘progressive’ politics, race relations, new historical interpretations.. It’s getting lonely out there for us old realists, atheists and believers in empirical evidence.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Stoll

I agree about the religiosity involved in some current movements, but it’s par for the course for an atheist to feel “lonely”, in the sense of lacking in a ready-made community such as a congregation. Indeed, it’s precisely that feeling of community that many people subscribe to when attending church.
But i wouldn’t use the term “lonely”, since i’ve never felt lonely. The closest i ever got to it was feeling somehow apart from the crowd during religious ceremonies. I can certainly appreciate the ritual, but the element of ‘worship’ required to fully participate was impossible for me to subscribe to. I’d much rather be out and about, walking in the local hills and feeling part of something natural and ancient rather than man-made and contrived.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Stoll

I agree about the religiosity involved in some current movements, but it’s par for the course for an atheist to feel “lonely”, in the sense of lacking in a ready-made community such as a congregation. Indeed, it’s precisely that feeling of community that many people subscribe to when attending church.
But i wouldn’t use the term “lonely”, since i’ve never felt lonely. The closest i ever got to it was feeling somehow apart from the crowd during religious ceremonies. I can certainly appreciate the ritual, but the element of ‘worship’ required to fully participate was impossible for me to subscribe to. I’d much rather be out and about, walking in the local hills and feeling part of something natural and ancient rather than man-made and contrived.

Josh Allan
Josh Allan
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I am equally comforted and disturbed by the knowledge that the ideologies which threaten the monarchy are much more unsustainable than this 1000+ year-old institution.
And I genuinely feel sorry for anyone who finds a shopping trip more meaningful than a national ceremony. The term ‘npc’ comes to mind.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Put simply, Chesterton’s Fence.

Caradog Wiliams
Caradog Wiliams
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I agree. Who in their right mind would go to Sainsbury’s for the day? Over here we have a very welcoming place called Aldi’s, where you get a superior sort of people.

Andrew Stoll
Andrew Stoll
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I see ‘organised religion’ everywhere, especially among greens & environmentalists, in ‘progressive’ politics, race relations, new historical interpretations.. It’s getting lonely out there for us old realists, atheists and believers in empirical evidence.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago

The subject of rituals is something I find myself banging on about more and more these days. And I am of the opinion that throwing all rituals on the pyre for the sake of saying “we are a modern society” will not necessarily improve the human experience of the members of that society.
Abolishing the monarchy in exchange for an elected head of state is to exchange ritual for process. It would be more democratic and more in-keeping with modern trends – but would it really be the improvement we think it might be? Has modernity always changed our lives for the better, or is it just making us disconnected, unhappy and spiritually poorer? Both, I think.
I believe that the changes that are coming at us down the pike in the next years and decades will actually result in a renaissance of ritual. As the world order we have known crumbles and things we believed were hard and fast truths turn out to be illusions, people will turn to ritual (possibly even back to organised religion) to seek meaning and stability.
Will it bring a revival in interest for the monarchy? No idea. The coronation at least gives us chance to reawaken a sense of the importance of ritual – if only people are curious and open-minded enough to look to see what they might discover for themselves.
If you’re a republican, ambivalent, or just not that into it – I get it. But loudly and proudly proclaiming “WELL I’M GOING TO BE IN SAINSBURY’S!!!!” to anyone who might hear does rather signal your own spiritual poverty.

Josh Allan
Josh Allan
1 year ago

‘Two-thirds of respondents tell YouGov pollsters that they either don’t care very much or don’t care at all about the ceremony. Only 9% of Britons said they care “a great deal”, and that cohort tends elderly.’
I’m probably the only Gen-Zer in the 9% who ticked that option in the survey. My hope is that the attachment will grow as they get older. Anyway, I’ll be enjoying the coronation on Saturday.

Josh Allan
Josh Allan
1 year ago

‘Two-thirds of respondents tell YouGov pollsters that they either don’t care very much or don’t care at all about the ceremony. Only 9% of Britons said they care “a great deal”, and that cohort tends elderly.’
I’m probably the only Gen-Zer in the 9% who ticked that option in the survey. My hope is that the attachment will grow as they get older. Anyway, I’ll be enjoying the coronation on Saturday.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

nu britn is infested by people who have a visceral envy of anything that cannot be bought…

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

nu britn is infested by people who have a visceral envy of anything that cannot be bought…

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
1 year ago

The anthropology is interesting but surely the ritual only makes sense in these terms, if the tribe buys into it.

Does it, is really the question now.

Emmanuel MARTIN
Emmanuel MARTIN
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

The question is more about “is there still a tribe, or just an administrqtive region part of the world blob” ?
For the the Guardianistas , there is no UK tribe.

Emmanuel MARTIN
Emmanuel MARTIN
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

The question is more about “is there still a tribe, or just an administrqtive region part of the world blob” ?
For the the Guardianistas , there is no UK tribe.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
1 year ago

The anthropology is interesting but surely the ritual only makes sense in these terms, if the tribe buys into it.

Does it, is really the question now.

Michael Askew
Michael Askew
1 year ago

The idea of an elected head of state is democratic and superficially appealing. But we need to remember that a head of state is meant to be a unifying, neutral figure. If a politician is elected they will be hated by at least half the population. If drawn from the ranks of the great and the good, the only people sufficiently well known are likely to be actors and television personalities. They probably wouldn’t want to do a job they have no training for, and if they did want it they probably shouldn’t have it. The present system gives the monarch (who didn’t seek the role) the glory but no power, and gives the prime minister (who did seek it) the power but not the glory – an essential division of responsibility that acts as a restraint on corruption.
Please note that the points raised here are pragmatic, not sentimental or symbolic.

Michael Askew
Michael Askew
1 year ago

The idea of an elected head of state is democratic and superficially appealing. But we need to remember that a head of state is meant to be a unifying, neutral figure. If a politician is elected they will be hated by at least half the population. If drawn from the ranks of the great and the good, the only people sufficiently well known are likely to be actors and television personalities. They probably wouldn’t want to do a job they have no training for, and if they did want it they probably shouldn’t have it. The present system gives the monarch (who didn’t seek the role) the glory but no power, and gives the prime minister (who did seek it) the power but not the glory – an essential division of responsibility that acts as a restraint on corruption.
Please note that the points raised here are pragmatic, not sentimental or symbolic.

Gordon Black
Gordon Black
1 year ago

Priceless … Thank You.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago

That’s a bit cheeky Ms Phillips if I may say so.

Last edited 1 year ago by Charles Stanhope
TheElephant InTheRoom
TheElephant InTheRoom
1 year ago

Excellent. All should read the above by Melanie Phillips.

james goater
james goater
1 year ago

A remarkably insightful piece. Thank you, indeed.

Gordon Black
Gordon Black
1 year ago

Priceless … Thank You.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago

That’s a bit cheeky Ms Phillips if I may say so.

Last edited 1 year ago by Charles Stanhope
TheElephant InTheRoom
TheElephant InTheRoom
1 year ago

Excellent. All should read the above by Melanie Phillips.

james goater
james goater
1 year ago

A remarkably insightful piece. Thank you, indeed.

Caradog Wiliams
Caradog Wiliams
1 year ago

The best one-liner I’ve heard today. Mark Drakeford, who is attending tomorrow, said,

“Best wishes to King Charles for an occasion which shows the United Kingdom as it is – today.”

Caradog Wiliams
Caradog Wiliams
1 year ago

The best one-liner I’ve heard today. Mark Drakeford, who is attending tomorrow, said,

“Best wishes to King Charles for an occasion which shows the United Kingdom as it is – today.”

Greg La Cock
Greg La Cock
1 year ago

I marvel at your wonderfully stabilising monarchy. Thank you Britain, for protecting this institution.

Greg La Cock
Greg La Cock
1 year ago

I marvel at your wonderfully stabilising monarchy. Thank you Britain, for protecting this institution.

John Solomon
John Solomon
1 year ago

On a slight tangent, did anyone else find it suspicious that Dimbleby’s assertion that Charles would find the idea of being revered ‘abhorrent’ only arose after it became clear that a significant section of the British populace find swearing allegiance to an individual – particularly such an undeserving one as Charles – equally abhorrent.
Trying to blame it on poor old Welsby was, I thought, a particularly cheap shot. After all if it was Welsby’s idea, what was stopping Charles from saying “Let’s not do that – I find the idea abhorrent.”
Dimbleby of course, has met Charles, and I have not (though I think Dimbleby’s description on the BBC website as being a ‘close friend’ of Charles as self-deluding hyperbole) but from the persona Charles projects to the public I find it difficult to imagine anyone more desperate to be revered. OK, Kim Jong-Un, perhaps.
But the North Korea demands oaths of allegiance from its citizens, doesn’t it?

John Solomon
John Solomon
1 year ago
Reply to  John Solomon

I see on the Beeb that Buckingham Palace are now saying that Dimbleby was’speaking on his own account. Does this now mean that Charles DOES want to be revered? Why could Dimbleby not check with his ‘close friend’ before opening his mouth – or perhaps his friend is not all that clse after all.

John Solomon
John Solomon
1 year ago
Reply to  John Solomon

I see on the Beeb that Buckingham Palace are now saying that Dimbleby was’speaking on his own account. Does this now mean that Charles DOES want to be revered? Why could Dimbleby not check with his ‘close friend’ before opening his mouth – or perhaps his friend is not all that clse after all.

John Solomon
John Solomon
1 year ago

On a slight tangent, did anyone else find it suspicious that Dimbleby’s assertion that Charles would find the idea of being revered ‘abhorrent’ only arose after it became clear that a significant section of the British populace find swearing allegiance to an individual – particularly such an undeserving one as Charles – equally abhorrent.
Trying to blame it on poor old Welsby was, I thought, a particularly cheap shot. After all if it was Welsby’s idea, what was stopping Charles from saying “Let’s not do that – I find the idea abhorrent.”
Dimbleby of course, has met Charles, and I have not (though I think Dimbleby’s description on the BBC website as being a ‘close friend’ of Charles as self-deluding hyperbole) but from the persona Charles projects to the public I find it difficult to imagine anyone more desperate to be revered. OK, Kim Jong-Un, perhaps.
But the North Korea demands oaths of allegiance from its citizens, doesn’t it?

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
1 year ago

Why is it that so many writers have a poor grasp of British history?
The writers ignores that the British and earlier Anglo Saxon monarchs had a sense of duty. The AS monarchs ruled through consultations and consent. William agreed to rule with the laws of Edward the Confessor. Henry I drafted The Charter of Liberties. Edward III said ” That which affects all must be consulted by all “. Edward III said his son must earn his spurs at Crecy. The Black Prince before Poitiers addressed the archers and says “I and my comrades will drink the same cup with you”..
Elizabeth I says no monarch has more loved the people than she. At Tilbury Elizabeth starts her address ” My loving people.. to live or die amongst you “.
As Orwell pointed out in his essays the aristocracy were prepared to die in WW2 and 20% of them did. Orwell pointed out that the greatest duty of of the public school boy was to die for Britain.Harrow has the record for th death rate , 27% of Harrovians who fougth in WW1 died.
During WW2, Queen Elizabth refused to leave her husband and allow her children to leave the country. When Buckingham Palace was bombed she said 2 I can now look the East End in the eye ” . As a mother she appreciated the trauma of those whose homes had been destroyed and the difficulty of bringing up children.
What we have today, as Glubb has stated in Fate of Empires is ruling class based upon the aristocracrcy whose justification for their existance is to die fighting for the country being replaced by a merchant class whose main focus is making money to intellectuals for whom their ideas are sacrosanct. Merchants and intellectuals can be cowards and traitors and not be ashamed. A king and or aristocrat who is a coward and traitor forfeits their position in a country.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
1 year ago

Why is it that so many writers have a poor grasp of British history?
The writers ignores that the British and earlier Anglo Saxon monarchs had a sense of duty. The AS monarchs ruled through consultations and consent. William agreed to rule with the laws of Edward the Confessor. Henry I drafted The Charter of Liberties. Edward III said ” That which affects all must be consulted by all “. Edward III said his son must earn his spurs at Crecy. The Black Prince before Poitiers addressed the archers and says “I and my comrades will drink the same cup with you”..
Elizabeth I says no monarch has more loved the people than she. At Tilbury Elizabeth starts her address ” My loving people.. to live or die amongst you “.
As Orwell pointed out in his essays the aristocracy were prepared to die in WW2 and 20% of them did. Orwell pointed out that the greatest duty of of the public school boy was to die for Britain.Harrow has the record for th death rate , 27% of Harrovians who fougth in WW1 died.
During WW2, Queen Elizabth refused to leave her husband and allow her children to leave the country. When Buckingham Palace was bombed she said 2 I can now look the East End in the eye ” . As a mother she appreciated the trauma of those whose homes had been destroyed and the difficulty of bringing up children.
What we have today, as Glubb has stated in Fate of Empires is ruling class based upon the aristocracrcy whose justification for their existance is to die fighting for the country being replaced by a merchant class whose main focus is making money to intellectuals for whom their ideas are sacrosanct. Merchants and intellectuals can be cowards and traitors and not be ashamed. A king and or aristocrat who is a coward and traitor forfeits their position in a country.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago

Is the word SCOTCH the trigger for the Censor, may I ask?

John Hilton
John Hilton
1 year ago

I myself am Scotch by absorption.

John Solomon
John Solomon
1 year ago

Hopefully not. Just a little water in mine, please………

John Hilton
John Hilton
1 year ago

I myself am Scotch by absorption.

John Solomon
John Solomon
1 year ago

Hopefully not. Just a little water in mine, please………

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago

Is the word SCOTCH the trigger for the Censor, may I ask?

TheElephant InTheRoom
TheElephant InTheRoom
1 year ago

Give me ritual, or give me death.

TheElephant InTheRoom
TheElephant InTheRoom
1 year ago

Give me ritual, or give me death.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago

The most interesting fact to have emerged from the planning of this splendid occasion is that the fabled ‘Stone of Scone’ was NOT broken in two by Scotch vandals back in 1952 as I had thought, but by female terrorists* in 1914.

In July 1914 these ‘harpies’ placed substantial ‘nail bomb’ within the sacred precincts of Westminster Abbey, which when detonated split the ‘Stone’ in half, but mercifully killed nobody, due to rather amateur design.

(*Sometimes referred to as Suffragettes.)

Last edited 1 year ago by Charles Stanhope
Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago

Absolutely, this continual adulation of a bunch of terrorists is disgraceful. We should be remembering the suffragists not the other lot.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago

Absolutely, this continual adulation of a bunch of terrorists is disgraceful. We should be remembering the suffragists not the other lot.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago

The most interesting fact to have emerged from the planning of this splendid occasion is that the fabled ‘Stone of Scone’ was NOT broken in two by Scotch vandals back in 1952 as I had thought, but by female terrorists* in 1914.

In July 1914 these ‘harpies’ placed substantial ‘nail bomb’ within the sacred precincts of Westminster Abbey, which when detonated split the ‘Stone’ in half, but mercifully killed nobody, due to rather amateur design.

(*Sometimes referred to as Suffragettes.)

Last edited 1 year ago by Charles Stanhope
Diane Tasker
Diane Tasker
1 year ago

I take the view that I will watch it as I’m paying for it. Also because I am interested in our history and enjoy Shakespeare’s ‘King’ plays. The music is well worth listening to. Admittedly I have not been ‘glued’ as I have it on record mode so dip in and out according to the Order of Service. I’m not ‘happy for them’ (in the way one says of couples on their wedding day) given their sneaky back story. The one blot on the landscape for me is old ‘furious face’ Welby! Only God knows why this snarky man exchanged a biz suit for religious robes!

Last edited 1 year ago by Diane Tasker
LCarey Rowland
LCarey Rowland
1 year ago

God Save the King means this: only God can move the hearts of British citizens to find reverence for Charles’ authority and legitimacy. If Charles wants to retain and cultivate the respect and the loyalty of Brits, he will, himself, have to retain and acknowledge his dependence on the Lord of Lords. The Archbishop ought to whisper this message to the King when Charles is beneath the cloak of Coronation and Anointing.
Later, or perhaps the same day, Charles ought to make amends with Harry, and ultimately with Meghan as well. Such reconciliation–if it is possible– will set well with the British people.

LCarey Rowland
LCarey Rowland
1 year ago

God Save the King means this: only God can move the hearts of British citizens to find reverence for Charles’ authority and legitimacy. If Charles wants to retain and cultivate the respect and the loyalty of Brits, he will, himself, have to retain and acknowledge his dependence on the Lord of Lords. The Archbishop ought to whisper this message to the King when Charles is beneath the cloak of Coronation and Anointing.
Later, or perhaps the same day, Charles ought to make amends with Harry, and ultimately with Meghan as well. Such reconciliation–if it is possible– will set well with the British people.

John Murray
John Murray
1 year ago

A column in a desperate search for significance. As the author admits early on most people seem indifferent and I suspect those who avidly watch tomorrow will be viewing it in the same way as the final of Strictly Come Dancing or I’m A Celebrity


The monarchy has become a soap opera, rather than something that has real meaning in everyday life, complete with pantomime villains (I read somewhere that there are 44 articles complaining about the awfulness of ‘Harry and Meghan’ on the Daily Express website), and they are largely used to sell newspapers and provide employment for the army of ‘Royal Experts’.

Folk I know put up with it only because the thought of a President Boris Johnson or some vulture from private equity who donated shedloads of wonga to the Tory Party would be worse.

So let’s not pretend it really matters any more than who wins Masterchef.

Phil Rees
Phil Rees
1 year ago
Reply to  John Murray

I read the comments hoping to find one I agree with, and here it is. The article seemed to pretentious nonsense and the attempt to draw any kind of parallel between Saturday’s events and the African tribal events seemed contrived and unbelievable.

Michael Askew
Michael Askew
1 year ago
Reply to  John Murray

The head of state has a ceremonial function that no modern nation (democratic or otherwise) chooses to do without. If not the monarch (chosen by random historic accident), then who? A politician? Charles is at least trying to be a neutral inclusive figure.

John Murray
John Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Askew

Sure, which was partly the point I was making. Probably a majority prefer having a monarchy to some politician or connected crony, but that doesn’t add up to any massive enthusiasm for Charles or the rest of them.

John Murray
John Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Askew

Sure, which was partly the point I was making. Probably a majority prefer having a monarchy to some politician or connected crony, but that doesn’t add up to any massive enthusiasm for Charles or the rest of them.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
1 year ago
Reply to  John Murray

The monarch does have one nuclear option held by no-one else.
In the UK the armed forces swear allegiance to the monarch not parliament or the government of the day.
This is the ultimate check and balance in the British constitution.
If push came to shove Charlie could call on the armed forces to “manage” an out of control government – think of Trump or Boris on steroids. The most recent contemporary example of the use of this power in Europe would be King Juan Carlos of Spain styming the coup in 1981.
A not insignificant ace in the hole. So not totally toothless.

John Murray
John Murray
1 year ago

Seriously? Johnson lied to the Queen about proroguing Parliament. I genuinely doubt Charles would risk his comfy lifestyle to challenge any government.

Christian Moon
Christian Moon
1 year ago

The army can no doubt manage a Trump or a Boris, are you so sure it could manage a woke blob of civil servants, academics and media? Trump and Boris couldn’t.

John Murray
John Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Christian Moon

Do you ever wonder how it was that Clement Attlee and Margaret Thatcher, politicians from opposite ends of the political spectrum, managed to enact their radical, but radically different, policies working with the Civil Service of their day but today’s politicians, and their apologists, complain that their abject failure to deliver is somehow down to a ‘woke blob’. Laughable really


Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
1 year ago
Reply to  John Murray

Different mentality . In the 940s up to 1980s there men and women who had been in combat and understood service to the nation meant sacrificing their lives: not services to their cultural marxist post 1960s ideologies.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
1 year ago
Reply to  John Murray

Different mentality . In the 940s up to 1980s there men and women who had been in combat and understood service to the nation meant sacrificing their lives: not services to their cultural marxist post 1960s ideologies.

John Murray
John Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Christian Moon

Do you ever wonder how it was that Clement Attlee and Margaret Thatcher, politicians from opposite ends of the political spectrum, managed to enact their radical, but radically different, policies working with the Civil Service of their day but today’s politicians, and their apologists, complain that their abject failure to deliver is somehow down to a ‘woke blob’. Laughable really


John Solomon
John Solomon
1 year ago

The idea that ‘the armed forces’ would follow Charles is deeply insulting to the intelligence of the senior officers. Troops might swear allegiance to the monarch, but their allegiance is to their regiment (in fact they fight for their ‘mates’). I cannot imagine any circumstances where the UK would stage a military coup – in fact the only precedent (the English civil war) was in response to a rogue king, not a rogue government.
Also in Britain it is Parliament which is supreme, not the monarch.

John Murray
John Murray
1 year ago

Seriously? Johnson lied to the Queen about proroguing Parliament. I genuinely doubt Charles would risk his comfy lifestyle to challenge any government.

Christian Moon
Christian Moon
1 year ago

The army can no doubt manage a Trump or a Boris, are you so sure it could manage a woke blob of civil servants, academics and media? Trump and Boris couldn’t.

John Solomon
John Solomon
1 year ago

The idea that ‘the armed forces’ would follow Charles is deeply insulting to the intelligence of the senior officers. Troops might swear allegiance to the monarch, but their allegiance is to their regiment (in fact they fight for their ‘mates’). I cannot imagine any circumstances where the UK would stage a military coup – in fact the only precedent (the English civil war) was in response to a rogue king, not a rogue government.
Also in Britain it is Parliament which is supreme, not the monarch.

Phil Rees
Phil Rees
1 year ago
Reply to  John Murray

I read the comments hoping to find one I agree with, and here it is. The article seemed to pretentious nonsense and the attempt to draw any kind of parallel between Saturday’s events and the African tribal events seemed contrived and unbelievable.

Michael Askew
Michael Askew
1 year ago
Reply to  John Murray

The head of state has a ceremonial function that no modern nation (democratic or otherwise) chooses to do without. If not the monarch (chosen by random historic accident), then who? A politician? Charles is at least trying to be a neutral inclusive figure.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
1 year ago
Reply to  John Murray

The monarch does have one nuclear option held by no-one else.
In the UK the armed forces swear allegiance to the monarch not parliament or the government of the day.
This is the ultimate check and balance in the British constitution.
If push came to shove Charlie could call on the armed forces to “manage” an out of control government – think of Trump or Boris on steroids. The most recent contemporary example of the use of this power in Europe would be King Juan Carlos of Spain styming the coup in 1981.
A not insignificant ace in the hole. So not totally toothless.

John Murray
John Murray
1 year ago

A column in a desperate search for significance. As the author admits early on most people seem indifferent and I suspect those who avidly watch tomorrow will be viewing it in the same way as the final of Strictly Come Dancing or I’m A Celebrity


The monarchy has become a soap opera, rather than something that has real meaning in everyday life, complete with pantomime villains (I read somewhere that there are 44 articles complaining about the awfulness of ‘Harry and Meghan’ on the Daily Express website), and they are largely used to sell newspapers and provide employment for the army of ‘Royal Experts’.

Folk I know put up with it only because the thought of a President Boris Johnson or some vulture from private equity who donated shedloads of wonga to the Tory Party would be worse.

So let’s not pretend it really matters any more than who wins Masterchef.

Terry M
Terry M
1 year ago

The coronation is worth watching for the same reason it is worth seeing the two-headed sheep at the fair.

John Solomon
John Solomon
1 year ago
Reply to  Terry M

Deleted

Last edited 1 year ago by John Solomon
John Solomon
John Solomon
1 year ago
Reply to  Terry M

Deleted

Last edited 1 year ago by John Solomon
Terry M
Terry M
1 year ago

The coronation is worth watching for the same reason it is worth seeing the two-headed sheep at the fair.