King Charles' coronation felt like a Disney parade that took itself too seriously – Susan Morrison
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The crowning of a king in the 12th century must have been spellbindingly awesome. The golden robes, the glittering crowns and the highest in the land crashing to their knees to swear sacred vows of eternal loyalty to His Chosen Majesty. This God-backed guarantee turned out to be a tad holey for Richards II and III, Henry VI and, of course, Charles I (although it was a low-born lot who did for him).
The crowning of the king in the 21st century looked slightly silly, with the faint air of a Disney parade taking itself too seriously, although the Magic Kingdom can’t boast a mounted military band. Who on earth came up with the idea of sticking a timpani drum on a Clydesdale horse? What is the actual point of a band on horseback staffed by combat-trained troops? Have we ever sent the cavalry in armed with only a clarinet and an air in G Minor? Actually, we probably have.
What does the recruitment ad look like? Can you play drums? Can you ride a horse? Then life in the mounted military band is for you, my lad.
In the Abbey, tired, dusty-looking aristos chuntered up the aisle like a really bad catwalk show, trailing yards of fur-lined velvet and wearing lots of feathers. There must be a lot of baldy ostriches out there. Princess Anne seemed the only one to miss out, but she did make up for it with a nifty scarlet cockade big enough to hide Harry behind.
There were flashes of showbiz glamour. Judi Dench and Maggie Smith appeared, two actresses who have both played queens, which presumably meant that if Camilla was a no-show then one of them could step in. The great Floella Benjamin, Queen of Play School, majestically floated through the cathedral carrying a magic bauble and looking up at the… Round Window.
Disney would have done something more showbizzy with The Procession of The Living Prime Ministers. It’ll need some livening up, given the rate the Tories are burning through PMs. This has the potential for a major chunk in future royal events. The lads looked like a remake of Reservoir Dogs, with a gender-blind recasting of Theresa May in Tim Roth's role. At least Tony Blair tried to put on a show by wearing a rather sparkly necklace. John Major turned up wearing the same one. Awkward.
Is this a promotion for Charles? Kings are dull. Look at the boring Georges, or poor mad Lear. Princes – they’re the lads you want to be. Handsome, charming and dashing, given to planting smackers on the lips of beauties sleeping and awake (some without so much as a hint of consent).
Charles did look like he'd rather be someplace else, possibly because Penny Mordaunt was standing inches away with a very heavy sword in her hand. Says a lot about the privileged classes that neither she nor her design team realised that golden ferns embroidered on a teal-coloured background meant she was effectively dressed as a Lady of the House of Poundland. Perhaps she was being sponsored by them.
And then, sparkly and uncomfortable hats on heads, the new king and queen went home to live happily ever after. Perhaps it's time to leave the fairytales to Disney.