All last week we were with the preparations for the Coronation of King Charles III throughout England, very excited, seeing every detail on TV, which honestly distracted me!
It was Friday and the party started! Until Monday, which was a bank holiday. Well, here I share concepts, comments and opinions that can help give us an idea of what was celebrated and why…
The secrets of King Charles’ coronation
Britain’s glorious constitutional hotchpotch will be the stand-out feature of this grand, archaic ceremony.
Does anyone understand the vagaries of a coronation? We certainly don’t. POLITICO commissioned our resident constitutional expert to explain. Once again, they asked not to be named for this piece.
A British coronation is much like a U.S. presidential inauguration — unnecessary in law, but rich in pageantry and theater.
Misconceptions persist that Saturday’s ceremony marks the beginning of the new monarch’s reign. But it is not the Prince of Wales being crowned at Westminster Abbey. Charles is not king-designate, king-in-waiting, or plain old Prince Charles he is already king, and has been since his mother drew her last breath on September 8, 2022. He will not acquire new powers or status when the St. Edward’s Crown touches his graying hair. In that sense, a coronation ceremony need not happen at all. Britain’s only ever ex-king, the Duke of Windsor, was not crowned before he abdicated in December 1936. It made no difference to his 11-month reign. Much like last year’s Accession Council, a coronation symbolically confirms something that has already happened. It is no more than a historic hangover from an era in which crowns were frequently contested, and in which the church could help legitimize one claimant over another. Similarities with U.S. presidential inaugurations abound. The single legal requirement of both ceremonies is that the head of state swear an oath. An American president swears to “protect and defend” the constitution; the king on Saturday will swear to govern according to laws and customs, to render justice with mercy, and to maintain the “Protestant Reformed Religion.”
Indeed, God looms large at a coronation. At its heart it is a religious service specifically an Anglican one. The central element is the anointing, the moment God’s grace is conferred upon a monarch as the Church of England’s supreme governor. The liturgy dates back to the late 10th century and includes Holy Communion, prayers, and traditional language from the King James Bible that will be familiar to millions of Christians watching around the world.
But the order of service will also reflect the British nation as it is in 2023. Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953 was an imperial ceremony, complete with colonial regiments and crowned heads under British “protection.” (The Queen of Tonga was a hit with the watching crowds.) Today the United Kingdom has lost its empire but retained the pageantry. Now, 14 governors-general the king’s representatives in Commonwealth realms from Canada to the Solomon Islands will march into the abbey, and later greet Charles before he leaves. In 1953 a papal delegation waited outside the abbey, forbidden by Vatican law from going inside. This weekend not only will it join more than 2,000 other guests inside the historic building, but the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, will help bless the king. The first procession will bear the Cross of Wales, which includes shards of the “True Cross” gifted by Pope Francis. Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Sikh members of the House of Lords will present symbolic items of the regalia. Other aspects too will reflect the constitutional hotchpotch that is the U.K.
Charles will have to formally declare his Protestantism, for a British monarch is still prohibited by law from being a Catholic. For the first time ever the ceremony will include the Scottish, Irish Gaelic and Welsh languages. The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland the country’s other state-recognized church will present the bible upon which the king will swear his oaths. The coronation processions will incorporate elements from pre-1707 Scottish ceremonial, a reminder that Scotland was once an independent kingdom. Symbolically, Charles will be crowned while sitting upon the ancient “Stone of Destiny,” once the preserve of kings and queens of Scots. The new Prince of Wales, William, will pay “homage” to his father kneeling, touching the crown and kissing his cheek.
Also in attendance will be the new First Minister of Scotland, Humza Yousaf, and the First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford both ardent republicans. They will be joined by the First Minister-designate of Northern Ireland, Sinn Féin’s Michelle O’Neill, despite her party’s fervent anti-royalism. These days, the British monarchy likes to play nice with those who seek its abolition.
New Carolean era – the origin of the name, what it means and long history behind it
Now King Charles III has been coronated, the UK has entered a brand new era – but it’s not the first time we’ve been in a Carolean age. We look back at its long history to mark the event.
King Charles III has officially been crowned as King, marking a new era of history for the United Kingdom. The sad passing of Queen Elizabeth II, was not just a landmark death of a monarch who reigned for decades, but also the end a literal era, referred to as the The Elizabethan age. Now, with King Charles III as King, this is the second time the UK has been in the Carolean era.
If you’re feeling rather baffled on what this new era means for the UK and the tradition behind it, you’re not alone. Below, we’ve mapped out everything you need to know about the new Carolean age. In a speech following the death of Queen Elizabeth, former Prime Minister Liz Truss said: “We owe him our loyalty and devotion. The British people, the Commonwealth and all of us in this House will support him as he takes our country forward to a new era of hope and progress. Our new Carolean age.” This monumental change in the royal family goes far beyond singing a new word in the national anthem or a new face on coins, it’s an important historical moment that signifies a new era for the country. The name of each age is taken from the name of the monarch. Carolean comes from the Latin name for Charles (Carolus) which is where we get the name of this current era. Unsurprisingly, Elizabethan was taken from the name Elizabeth. This is not the first time the UK has entered into a Carolean age, but it is quite a while since the first instance. To find this era in British history you have to go way back to the reign of King Charles II, which is the first time the word Carolean was used in reference to a new age. During the reign of King Charles I, it was actually referred to as the Caroline era which again comes from the Latin name for Charles. King Charles II reigned England, Wales and Ireland from 1660 until his death in 1685. Therefore, the passing of the late Queen signified an era of history we have not been in for nearly 400 years. The Coronation of King Charles III took place yesterday Westminster Abbey in London. Charles was crowned as King with his wife, Queen Camilla, by his side. This landmark ceremony symbolised the monarch’s role as the head of the Church of England and formally granted him all the powers and duties that the previous monarch held. At the age of 73, King Charles III is the oldest British monarch to ascend to the throne after spending 70 of those years as heir to his mother, Elizabeth II.
This Carolean age will end when Charles III passes the throne to his heir, William, Prince of Wales.
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