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An Uncomfortable Coronation

On Saturday, May 6, a milestone was marked in the United Kingdom with the coronation of King Charles III. The last time such a ceremony took place was 70 years ago when his mother was crowned. According to the BBC, despite a planned austere celebration, the event was still costly, with estimates ranging from £50 million to £100 million. The British broadcaster emphasized "the issue of a lavish coronation at a time when millions of households in the UK are struggling with the basic costs of daily living." Inflation remains above 10% on an annual basis, with the worst moment recorded in March when it reached 19.1%, something not seen since August 1977.

31 May 2023

Royal Tourism: Abby Ghafoor, a business guru, told Daily PR that the coronation is “good for the bottom line,” particularly for London. “This will have a direct impact on the UK economy,” she asserted in the article. However, a YouGov survey concluded that 51% of Britons do not believe taxpayers should foot the bill for the coronation.

It is not coincidental that the most prominent message in the new king’s speech during the ceremony was that he assumes the role “to serve, not to be served.” Amid a crisis marked by rising living costs, the uncomfortably high financial expenditure of the coronation drew attention.

In the short term, the boost to local businesses, the hotel industry, and even the job market, with temporary employment opportunities created in areas such as event management, security, and retail, invigorates the country’s economy. In the long term, the monarchy contributes around £1.7 billion annually to the United Kingdom (at least that’s what has been seen recently), and it is unlikely to change significantly under the reign of King Charles III. “Seeking to appear less pompous and more modern than Queen Elizabeth II, Charles III opted for a simplified coronation ceremony lasting one hour, with around 2,000 guests, instead of the three-hour ceremony with 8,000 attendees that his mother had in 1953,” wrote Semana magazine.

The Kingdom’s diversity: King Charles III emphasized the diversity of the kingdom, which was perceived as a gesture towards the countries of the Commonwealth and demonstrated the Crown’s appreciation for the multiplicity of worldviews. The ceremony included religious leaders from Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, and Jewish faiths. The coronation in the United Kingdom marks the beginning of a new era that will have a radical and possibly unexpected legal, social, and economic impact beyond its borders.

It is believed that Charles III’s ascension may generate debate about the future of the monarchy. It will be challenging to win over the youth in the United Kingdom, where only 36% are in favor of the monarchy. “He fails to solidify his image, especially among the younger generation, despite sharing a long-standing passion for ecology and the fight against climate change,” wrote Semana magazine.

Under the slogan “Not my king,” protests have multiplied in recent months, and several teenagers have been prosecuted for throwing eggs at him, although they never hit him. On the other hand, Barbados’ decision in 2022 to remove Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state shows how the monarchy’s legacy can be challenged. Clearly, it won’t be easy for Charles III, as the younger generation in the United Kingdom demands an end to the monarchy, as do an increasing number of Commonwealth countries.

Meghan and Harry: According to Daily PR, Meghan Markle’s choice to stay home for her son’s birthday has given her and Prince Harry power in terms of their personal brand and reputation, both in the country and abroad. Not getting involved in the issues of the extended family and, in Markle’s case, not publicly speaking ill of King Charles has earned them points.

The fact that neither Archie nor Lilibet were officially invited to the event allowed their mother to appear busy with other, more earthly and everyday things, while Harry had to face – according to royal experts – a cold reception from his family after the publication in January of his memoir “Spare,” in which he reveals intimate details and spares no criticism for any of his family members, starting with his father and brother, whom he believes always treated him as a “spare.”

Diminished audience: “The coronation of King Charles III and Camilla recorded an average audience of 18.8 million people in the United Kingdom, with a peak of 20.4 million when the Archbishop of Canterbury placed the crown on the sovereign, according to the analysis firm Barb,” said the EFE news agency.

The figures from the organization, managed by the BBC, channel 5, ITV, Sky News, and other British channels, indicate that the number of viewers for the ceremony on Saturday, May 6, fell slightly below the average audience of 26.5 million that the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II registered in the UK last September. While the coronation of the previous monarch in 1953 is considered one of the events that marked the beginning of television as a mass communication medium in the country, of course, back then, we were in a different world. Radically different from this one.