Let’s dive right in and discuss the many elements of King Charles’ coronation that made me feel uncomfortable – the royal family’s history with slavery. Those looted jewels. The religious dogma that made some of us squirm, and, of course, who’s footing the bill.
The Not-so-Pretty Past
Okay, let’s address the elephant in the room that is not very well hidden nowadays — the royal family’s connection to slavery and colonialism. We can’t deny it, folks. There’s some unforgivable baggage there. As we march forward into a supposedly more enlightened era (who’d have thought we’d ever see a Black gospel choir in Westminster Abbey?) it’s a welcome thought that King Charles has ordered an investigation into the inhumane mistakes of our past. I wonder what he’ll do with the information. C’mon Charles – let’s see what you’re really made of.
Jewels: Bling or Blunder?
Now, let’s talk about those dazzling crown jewels. Wow – they really are stunning. But hang on – can we really admire them when we know they were looted during colonialisation. At least the Koh-I-Noor diamond wasn’t used. I guess we can be grateful for that. But it doesn’t mean it’s being given back to India. Again, time will tell if this seemingly progressive approach will play out with any real steps towards accepting the wrong doing of the British colonial past.
Religious Dogma: Amen or Awkward?
The coronation ceremony took place in Windsor Abbey, of course, and leaned pretty heavily on Christian religious dogma. It’s not for me – and it’s not for many of my friends who have other, or no, religious faiths. Did anyone else find it awkward when our Hindu Prime Minister stood at the pulpit to deliver his Christian reading? Is the connection with Royalty and Christianity another sign of its potential irrelevance and outdated tradition – one that excludes so much of British society? Would a secular or multi-faith ceremony be more in keeping?
Who’s Paying the Bill?
Last but not least, we can’t avoid the very un-British subject of money. The financial burden of royal events and maintaining the monarchy can make our heads spin. We, the taxpayers, are the ones footing the bill. As we face alarmingly challenging times financially, it’s worth wondering if there’s a fairer way for Britain to finance the monarchy. Maybe it’s time for the royal family to tap into their own billions of private wealth, if they really believe that they’re here “To serve. Not to be served.”
It’s been a strange day. I, like most people my age, grew up being told by the press and school history lessons that the Queen was wonderful, and that we were lucky to have a royal family. It took deliberate action to educate myself on what our history really involves. But it wasn’t hard to find.
It’s time we all opened our eyes isn’t it? And to take a more balanced view of all of this, so that we can at least form more educated opinions.
There haven’t been any union jacks flying from my windows, or paper crowns or parties this weekend. I’ll leave the celebrations until I see what Charles does in the future. I do feel some hope – I can see some green shoots but the proof will be in the pudding (or scone, or trifle).