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Long-serving intern’s crowning glory

Those with a lack of admiration for the British monarchy will have found nothing in Saturday’s elaborate coronation ceremony to disabuse them of their anti-royalist sentiments.

First off, there’s the estimated $200 million price tag for Charles III’s official crowning, which critics – unmoved by reports the King had insisted on a “pared-down” event more “economical and restrained” than his mum’s in 1953 – have been quick to point out is insensitively out of touch with the common folk of a nation that, like ours, is currently weathering a cost of living crisis.

The fact the Guardian recently calculated that the King’s private fortune comprises the princely sum of $3.6 billion does nothing to assuage this understandable sense of economic outrage.

Anyone with a preference for Harry and Meghan – the family firm’s self-anointed ‘progressives’ – will presumably have been appalled by how the King’s second son was apparently seated behind his aunt Anne’s massive feathered hat with malice aforethought.

The fact he was put in the same row as his highly ‘problematic’ uncle – and that Prince Andrew was there at all – will have only sharpened this sense of grievance.

Then there was the centrality of religion to the event at a time in Western history when the appeal of the ineffable is at probably its lowest ebb ever. Along with all the esoteric paraphernalia – including orbs, sceptres, and golden sticks – it’s unlikely to have made proceedings more relatable for much of the audience. Even if admiring the stamina of Penny Mordaunt’ sword-bearing, those of a certain age are quite likely to have recalled Monty Python’s peasant informing King Arthur that “You can’t expect to wield supreme executive power just ’cos some watery tart threw a sword at you!”

And, of course, the event’s underpinning foundational belief in the royal’s inherent superiority – thanks in part to a centuries-long obsession with breeding that would surely make a eugenicist blush – is more than a little at odds with increasing calls for ‘equity’.

And yet…

Much has been made – especially during the funeral of Queen Elizabeth III – of the sense of continuity provided by the royal family.

Perhaps, in the new King, we have a figure who can bridge the growing divide between ‘progressive’ forces seemingly intent on overthrowing the established [obviously far from ideal] order with only a theoretical sense of what they might replace it with, and those who fret about the possibility of throwing out the figurative baby with the bathwater.

Perhaps the hour has come for a man deeply steeped in tradition, whose decades-long concerns about environmental degradation have only relatively recently become mainstream, to take us back to the future.

While making a “call for revolution” in his 2010 book Harmony, the future king wrote “it is very strange that we carry on behaving as we do. If we were on a walk in a forest and found ourselves on the wrong path, then the last thing we would do is carry on walking in the wrong direction. We would instead retrace our steps, go back to where we took the wrong turn, and follow the right path.

“I cannot stress the point enough: we are travelling along a very wrong road.”

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