The UK has millions of citizens on or below the poverty line. Inflation, particularly for food, continues to rage. Brexit continues its long and inevitable journey from triumphant vote winner to national pariah, the shame of a nation conned into voting to make itself poorer. At such a time, the idea of spraying around £250 million up the wall for Brian and Camilla is a hard sell.
What more and more citizens may also be doing is looking at countries whose monarchies are on a rather smaller scale - Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Denmark for instance - and even those that have, along the way, dispensed with Royalty, like Germany, Austria, Italy, France and Portugal, where the last but one King was assassinated, along with his son.
That event, along with the proclamation of the First Republic two years later, was against a backdrop of economic instability and poverty. Not that the grovelling press pack of the UK wants to consider such details: instead, today has brought a collective attack of gaslighting, but one which their audience may finally see through. We are being instructed to swear allegiance.
From the Sunday Brexit, still called the Express, telling us “KING’S SOLEMN VOW TO SERVE US ALL … Millions watching Coronation invited to pledge allegiance”, to the Murdoch Sunday Times, with “Archbishop will ask millions to pledge allegiance to their King … Coronation to feature ‘homage of the people’”, the message is clear. And the Mail on Sunday trowels it on.
“In historic break with centuries of tradition that will turn Charles’ big day into the People’s Coronation … WE ARE ALL INVITED TO SWEAR ALLEGIANCE TO THE KING” thunders the headline. Who is he, Kim Jong-un? That creepy personality cult vibe, together with more fawning publicity shots of the Waleses, gives the unmistakable impression of an empty façade.
On goes the MoS: “For the first time in history, every citizen of the UK and all the other nations of which the monarch is head of state will be asked to 'make their homage in heart and voice to their undoubted King'. The trailblazing move will make the ceremony more of a 'People's Coronation', as previously only members of the aristocracy were called upon to make such a pledge”.
And on goes the creepiness. “The 'Homage of the People' is just one of the significant updates to the ancient ritual, which will see other religious faiths, as well as the Church of England, playing key roles. Female members of the clergy will also be involved for the first time”. How very modern, only 105 years after some women were finally given the right to vote.
For those who dissent from the North Korea tendency, the Mail has followed up with the typically threatening headline “How YOU can pledge allegiance to King Charles on Saturday: Millions watching ceremony on TV will be invited to join vow - but spoilsport anti-monarchy critics say they will refuse to join in”. Then comes a vindictive attack on Professor Priyamvada Gopal.
Not that it’s because she’s not white, of course - perish the thought! It’s just another of those sheer coincidences that see the Mail titles publish one bad faith tirade after another directed at the Duchess of Sussex, the papers employing a whole host of bottom feeding practitioners of yellow journalism to trash Haz and Megs while fawning sycophantically over the Working Royals.
Maybe some will join in and repeat “I swear that I will pay true allegiance to Your Majesty, and to your heirs and successors according to law. So help me God … God save King Charles. Long live King Charles. May the King live for ever” as commanded. But while the member for times long past Jacob Rees Mogg gushed “It will be a brilliant expression of our fealty - every loyal subject will want to do this”, he misses the obvious: we are no longer subjects.
And so we no longer pay fealty. Moreover, more and more of those no-longer-subjects may look instead at the Coronation’s £250 million price tag, or the Observer warning “Rituals that people no longer believe in can easily come to seem problematic as well as ridiculous”, rather than obediently join in.
The monarchy was for a time, but maybe not for all time. That is all.
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