My late father, the politician and boulevardier, Woodrow Wyatt, attended Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation in 1953. There were 8,251 guests, accommodated by the scaffolding built into Westminster Abbey, and they sat on velvet chairs, which you could buy afterwards. The profits went to covering the cost of an occasion that made the world wonder.
Life in Britain, 70 years on, is dreary and depressing, and we need something to gild and fresco it. A slimmed-down monarchy is just about palatable, but I can’t digest a slimmed down Coronation; I want a big fat one, replete with irrelevance, people in pantaloons, and an orgy of excess.
The Duke of Norfolk, whose family seem to have a right to the Coronation business, is supposed to be organising the event. There are tantrums already.
In 1952, every peer in Britain was invited. While it is not unreasonable to suppose that in 2023, this might be too costly, I hear that only peers who are members of the Government can expect an invitation.
In their desperation, those fearful of being excluded are becoming inventive. One of the proposals secretly put forward was to divert the royal procession through a scaffolded Westminster Hall, so that the Lords could pay their respects there. Norfolk has said no to this.
I suppose the lesson is that peers are nobodies these days. But if titles and the hereditary principle are no longer important, where does that leave the Monarchy itself? Kings are not dissimilar from Dukes and Earls; their main function is to be picaresque and uplifting. It’s a bit like the Catholic religion. There is no rational reason for monarchy, only spectacle and a leap of faith.
It is particularly disturbing that the Earl of Derby has not been asked to provide falcons, as his family have done since the 16th Century. These little things deprive people of their purpose in life.
I concede that Charles faces a dilemma, He is the first social media monarch, but by pandering to the woke, as he did with the row centred around Lady Susan Hussey, he begins his own suicide note.
When I hear from friends close to the King that the Coronation will be a tribute to “yoof” and “diversity” – just the sort of people who cost poor Lady Susan her job – I cannot let out a rousing cheer.
The Coronation should be a shining mark to the whole camorra of professional doom-sayers, puritanical bores, and the cancel commentariat. The British Monarchy is not diverse and inclusive, and it never can be, being limited to one family.
The value of diamonds depends on a controlled and limited output. So does the value of the Monarchy, something it would do well to remember.