As the UK prepares for the coronation of King Charles III on May 6th, 2023, the nation is buzzing with excitement and pride. From London to Edinburgh and Belfast to Cardiff, people are eagerly anticipating the ceremony that will mark the beginning of a new era in British history.
One of the most visible signs of this excitement is the proliferation of bunting and other decorations. Houses, shops, and streets are decked out in the red, white, and blue of the Union Jack, as well as the blue and gold of the new King’s coat of arms. Even traditional royal event-inspired dishes have made a come back, with coronation chicken being a popular choice for picnics and parties again whilst celebrating the coronation. In a nod to the new king’s preference, coronation quiche has become a new addition to the menu.
People have also begun lining the streets of the Mall, the route that the new king will take on his way to and from Westminster Abbey. Many have been camped out for days, hoping to get a glimpse of the coronation procession and the new monarch. The atmosphere is electric, with a sense of pride and patriotism in the air.
However, amidst all the excitement, there are signs that tradition is being lost. The younger generation, in particular, tends to be less enthused with the monarchy than their parents and grandparents. The days of blind loyalty to the royal family are over especially in light of the recent woes of royal family unrest, and even more are questioning the relevance of the monarchy in the modern world.
This sentiment was reflected in the recent backlash to a request from Lambeth Palace for members of the public to pledge allegiance to the new king. In response, the king scrapped the act of hereditary peers kneeling to pay homage before touching the crown and kissing the monarch’s right cheek, instead introducing a “Homage of the People” that will allow “a chorus of a million voices” to participate in declaring their allegiance to the king.
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While some may see this as a sign of progress, others worry that the loss of traditional rituals could weaken the monarchy’s hold on the public imagination. As the new king takes the throne, he will have to navigate these changing attitudes towards the monarchy and find ways to maintain its relevance in the 21st century.
Regardless of these concerns, the coronation promises to be a momentous occasion, watched by millions around the world. The TV coverage begins at 7.30am in the UK on BBC One, BBC Two, and BBC iPlayer, with ITV following in all regions from 8.30 am. It will be a day of celebration, pride, and, for some, reflection on the changing nature of the monarchy.
This article is part of a week-long series on the coronation and the royal family. Join us tomorrow for more discussions on this topic.