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King's Coronation Advocating For Diversity And Its Failed Attempt To Modernise The Monarchy

A compromise between tradition and diversity in a changing monarchy

Photo Crecit: Yui Mok | Getty Images

The king's coronation was nothing short of tradition and history aimed at white power and legacy, but where does this leave outsiders? The ceremony, which took place on May 6th 2023, was hailed as the most diverse and inclusive in its 1000-year history, but was it really a genuine attempt to reflect multicultural Britain or just a superficial gesture to appease critics and distract from the monarchy's irrelevance and privilege?

The coronation of Charles III was a lavish spectacle that cost an estimated £100 million, funded by taxpayers who are struggling with the aftermath of the pandemic, Brexit and climate change. The ceremony followed the same basic structure as previous ones, with the king being anointed, crowned and enthroned in Westminster Abbey, surrounded by peers, bishops and dignitaries. The king also swore to uphold the Church of England as the established religion of England, and to maintain the Protestant succession.

However, some changes were made to the ceremony to showcase diversity and modernity. For example, representatives of other faiths, such as Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists, were invited to attend and participate in prayers and readings. A gospel choir sang "Amazing Grace" and a rendition of "God Save the King" in different languages. Floella Benjamin, a Black British former children's TV presenter and chair of the Windrush Commemoration Committee, carried the Sovereign's Sceptre. Trevor McDonald, a Black British broadcaster and journalist, narrated parts of the ceremony for television. And Lionel Richie performed at Windsor Castle for a concert that featured artists from various genres and backgrounds.

The coronation was clearly designed to project an image of a monarchy that is in touch with the changing demographics and values of Britain. The king himself has expressed his desire to be a "defender of faiths" rather than just the "defender of the faith", and to champion causes such as environmentalism, social justice and interfaith dialogue. The inclusion of minorities and celebrities was meant to appeal to younger generations and ethnic communities who may feel alienated or indifferent towards the monarchy.

However, the coronation also revealed the limits and contradictions of the monarchy's attempt to modernise itself. The ceremony was still rooted in outdated religious and feudal ideals that do not reflect the reality or aspirations of most Britons. The king still enjoys immense wealth, power and privilege that are inherited rather than earned or deserved. The monarchy still relies on symbolism rather than substance to justify its existence and relevance. And the diversity on display was more tokenistic than transformative, more performative than meaningful.

The coronation did not address the fundamental questions that many Britons have about the role and future of the monarchy in a democratic and diverse society. It did not acknowledge the historical injustices and atrocities committed by the monarchy and its colonial legacy. It did not offer any substantive reforms or concessions to make the monarchy more accountable, transparent or representative. It did not engage with the voices and demands of those who question or challenge the monarchy's legitimacy or necessity.

In short, the coronation failed to convince many Britons that the monarchy is worth keeping or celebrating. It failed to make the king relatable or relevant to those who do not share his faith, background or worldview. It failed to modernise the monarchy in any meaningful way.

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King's Coronation Advocating For Diversity And Its Failed Attempt To Modernise The Monarchy

May 5, 2023

Fredrick Favour

3 min read