The Upcoming Coronation

Am I the only one who’s having a hard time getting excited about the coronation of King Charles III? 

On Saturday, May 6th, the coronation of King Charles III will take place in Westminster Abby.  While Britain may have given up the Doctrine of Divine Right of Kings, the coronation in this church will be largely a religious service.  In fact, Charles will process into Westminster Abby behind a cross containing a relic of the actual cross of Jesus Christ; on loan from the Vatican Museum.  

Charles’ role thereafter, however, is neither religious nor political.  The best word to describe him seems to be “figurehead” (which is better than “tourist attraction,” as some have said).  He represents an institution—the monarchy—that has stood as a symbol of national unity since 927.  But his function today will be largely ceremonial.  He will have influence insofar as the media follow him.

Maybe it is uniquely American to wonder if the monarchy belongs to another time and is out of step with the social equality so many work for today.  After all, as Christians, we work for a world in which no one is seen as more privileged than anyone else.  That’s because such a paradigm is the source of racism, sexism, classism, and a host of other “-isms.”  To bow down or curtsey before someone you can only refer to as “Your Highness” as they parade around in a golden carriage seems like a social justice non-starter.  

Still, maybe like that relic from the “true cross of Jesus Christ,” people need to believe that something is more than it actually is.  It just strikes me as sad that the $62 million to $124 million going into this coronation isn’t being used to help “the least of these” rather than bolstering an institution that seems to have no practical function.  

See you in church,

–Rev. Dominic