WHAT will you be doing on Saturday May 6? Will you, like the British people of June 2, 1953, be rising from your slumber to a beautiful day, getting ready to celebrate the crowning of a monarch? Maybe you will have planned the day in advance, either going to the Mall to watch the newly crowned King pass you in his golden carriage. Maybe you’ll have packed a picnic or will be joining one of the street parties up and down the country. Perhaps you will simply sit down in front of the TV or listen to the radio with a glass of something. However, I believe that many of you won’t be doing any of that. I reckon you’ll allow the day to pass without the slightest thought.
I understand that. Aside from some dubious public statements in her twilight years, Queen Elizabeth II was an outstanding monarch. She went about her business as well as can be expected. She didn’t make any judgments on who she was visiting or meeting and her diplomacy was second to none. When the various jubilees arrived, the public came out to thank her for her long years of service, and when she died the nation mourned her, as was proper. Unfortunately, her son Charles is the apple that fell a country mile away from the tree. This man is pro everything parliament and media believe in and, boy, will we hear more from the palace in the coming years, so I can perfectly understand why many former or sceptical monarchists will be switching off on Saturday May 6.
I, however, will not. I have never seen a monarch crowned in this country so it will be a momentous and memorable day, and though I despise the idea of a monarch getting more involved politically, I have to remember that I am toasting the crown, not the man. I’m aware that many of you will be ambivalent on the issue of monarchy vs republic, maybe even tending towards the latter, but I remind you that the head of state has no direct power. He will be able to influence, sure, but a republic would have far more reach than a monarchy ever would. It’d also cost an awful lot more. We also have to remember that Charles is not getting any younger. We may just see his son William crowned in our lifetime and we have to hope that he will have learned more from his grandmother’s reign than her son obviously has.
So on May 6, we’ll probably find a pub that’s showing the coronation (we can’t watch it at home because we refuse to pay the BBC licence tax) and go out and show our support for the crown.