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Why stop at the coronation? Let’s have jousting, sacrifices and boat battles too

Here are a few more empty ceremonies that could be held to distract the masses from the country’s ongoing elective death spiral

Image: The New European

I am what I’ll choose to call “royal agnostic”. I fall into neither the “Gawd bless yer Majesty” nor the “up against the wall” camp. I generally look upon the institution of the House of Windsor with bemused indifference. The royal family are, undoubtedly, a clanging anachronism with no role to play in the modern world, but then so are steam engines, black and white movies and the E-Type Jaguar, and those are all still pretty cool.

However, I don’t think I’m alone in detecting a distinct lack of excitement at the prospect of King Charles’s coronation, compared with other recent royal occasions such as the weddings of his two sons. And this was BEFORE it became apparent that the taxpayer would be handed the (substantial) bill for the festivities, AND that the population as a whole, rather than just the invited dignitaries, would be expected to join in with the pledge of allegiance to the newly crowned sovereign.

Nobody has ever accused me of having my finger on the pulse of the nation, but it can’t be just me who thinks that charging the public something like £200m in the middle of the worst cost of living crisis in living memory so that you can demand they swear loyalty to you while you sit on something called the Stone of Destiny wearing a diamond-encrusted hat is a LITTLE tone-deaf, can it?

Now I get that this is a pivotal moment, constitutionally speaking, and that the whole affair has to be couched in sub-Lord of the Rings mumbo jumbo because Tradition, but I can’t help but wonder if His Majesty and whichever assortment of Gríma Wormtongues currently have his ear have failed to consider the possibility that what they’d always believed was the British public’s undimmed fealty to the institution of the crown was in fact personal respect and admiration for the late Queen herself, and that Charles can’t just assume that this affection will automatically be transferred to him along with everything else he inherited last year.

I suppose it is just possible that a few days of bunting-strewn merriment will take the masses’ minds off the country’s ongoing elective death spiral. And indeed, if this appears to be the case, I wouldn’t be surprised if yet more empty ceremonies are foisted upon us in the months to come. Such as:

If plundering the country’s medieval traditions for the coronation seems to have tickled our collective fancy, why not go one better and get back to our pre-Christian pagan roots? Unfortunately, we’ve JUST missed Beltane but there’s another big date in the Druidic calendar a few weeks away; the summer solstice on June 21st.

Why let this time-honoured festival be the preserve of a few elitist robed eccentrics mumbling their way around Stonehenge at sunrise? We could erect stone circles (or at the very least, concrete ones) in town squares and village greens the length and breadth of the country and get cavorting. The feasts might be a bit meagre given that everyone is skint, but some decent sacrifices should ensure that better times are just around the corner. After all, if we’re expected to swear oaths of loyalty these days, it shouldn’t be too hard to round up some volunteers for the Wicker Man…

When there’s a change of prime minister in this country all that happens is a Pickfords van rocks up outside No 10 while the new resident goes to the Palace and – behind closed doors with little pomp and even less circumstance – asks the monarch: “Can I be prime minister, please?” to which the answer is invariably: “Oh, go on then”.

Hardly seems adequate, does it? There should be some sort of triumphant procession to the Houses of Parliament, with the incoming PM being borne aloft like a conquering Caesar (we might even find a use for that daft mace thing that’s just lying about in front of the Speaker’s chair). The losers, meanwhile, could be paraded in their underwear on a hay truck through the West End while people boo and throw dung at them. Tell me you wouldn’t watch that.

I know what you’re thinking; surely there’s not much could be added to this occasion to make it any more formal and ritualistic, what with the morning suits, competitive silly hat wearing and the word “Royal” in the title?
But let me add one word: Jousting.

You see, there’s nothing new about the upper classes convening to watch a bunch of guys on horseback, but while today’s toffs are content to watch said horses run round in futile circles, back in days of yore the day wasn’t complete until you’d seen someone’s ribcage caved in by a ten-foot lance…

And remember; you had to be a knight to joust in a tournament. Given that knighthoods are now being lashed out with less discrimination than Blue Peter badges, it would be good to see some of today’s freshly minted Sirs stuffed into armour and sent hurtling towards each other.

Arise, Sir Gavin, you’re up…

Okay, first of all, break up the Oxford/Cambridge duopoly. NOBODY CARES. Secondly, bring in some international teams. Thirdly, move it off the Thames and out on to the open sea. Fourthly, bigger boats with sails and maybe the odd cannon. Lastly, the competing teams will be allowed to fire upon and board each other’s vessels, and once the enemy fleet is vanquished, the winners should sail on to the losers’ homeland and ransack and invade it.

That’s how we got ourselves an empire the first time round, and by Brexit that’s how we’ll do it again…


Old Richard Sharp had no reason to carp
He’s the BBC chairman no more
He sorted an eight hundred K loan for Boris
Which he should have mentioned before…

Meanwhile as the search for a new chair begins
There’s a story that’s yet to be told
And that is just how the PM came to be
Some eight hundred grand in the hole…?

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