Charles III who became king the day his mother Queen Elizabeth II died, was anointed King of Britain
They do these things like coronations well. It is a tradition that dates back almost 1,000 years to William the Conqueror of 1066 fame. And the British do pomp and pageantry in prim and proper manner, down to the last protocol and taking care of every minute detail along the way, with certain aplomb, and get all of it mostly right. Charles III who became king the day his mother Queen Elizabeth II died in September 2022, but only after an interminable 70-year wait, was anointed King of Britain and the realms and everyone, almost everyone that is, had a good time.
It rained before, during and after the ceremony, but so notoriously fickle is the English weather. It may have disappointed Charles, who had once picked “Don’t rain on my parade” by Barbara Streisand in his favourite playlist. But none saw in it a portend of grey things to come. Maybe, Prince Harry, his appointed fifth place in the line of succession intact despite his renouncing the trappings of monarchy, may see it differently, which is why he dashed off to his new home in America and his wife Meghan and children after sitting in the third row at Westminster Abbey.
In this modern day and age, hereditary royalty is an anachronism and many nations that were part of the British Empire on which the sun never set are bristling with outrage and republican feelings. A Prince who sought diversity and promoted such ideals as saving the environment from climate change and looking after disadvantaged youth also brought much diversity into a royal occasion steeped with religiosity and spirituality.
Royalty, as a natural tourism promotion particularly attractive to people across the Atlantic, has done well for Britain even if some have protested the cost to the exchequer and the House of Windsor’s tax-free status. Just over 50 protesters were rounded up to keep the peace on the solemn as well as celebratory occasion, a minuscule number as compared to the millions who came on to the streets and many millions more who watched the Coronation on colour TV – it was B&W when his mother was crowned back in 1953.
Embracing the modern and keeping the monarchy relevant at a time of conflicting emotions about almost everything will be among the challenges that Charles III faces, besides dealing with a fractious extended royal family. Among the pluses is Queen Camilla has made herself popular with the high and mighty as well as the hoi polloi.