By Anne T. Donahue
On Saturday, Prince Charles becomes King Charles III, Camilla Parker-Bowles becomes Queen Camilla, and all of us will ready ourselves to hear hours of analysis about a day destined to be one of the least exciting events in history. (And I am literally going to school for history.)
I’m not even sure whose fault it is. Charles, for being himself? The monarchy in general, for continuing to happen? (I don’t want to start a fight, I just want to say: Kim, there are people who are dying.) Prince Harry, for telling us way too much about his life? The media, for bombarding us with stories and angles and theories and, and, and? I’m not sure. But I do know that I will not be waking up at 4 a.m. to watch a man I saw freak out over having to use the wrong pen (in a video – we’re not close personal friends) clad in gold, being pledged allegiance to.
Instead, the following list is what I would like to see. If it morphs into Coronation bingo and any of these come to fruition, I will personally pledge allegiance to Charles (Nelon Reilly, hero of stage and screen) for all to hear. And if not, then consider this an opportunity lost. This whole sha-bang is costing Britain a pretty penny, and there’s no excuse for a lack of special effect clouds.
Diana to appear in the clouds like Mufasa in The Lion King
Imagine? Only in this case, she would merely stare down at the King and Queen of England, reminding us all that she’s been watching, or inexplicably has the voice of James Earl Jones.
Any interaction between Harry and William
But preferably one that goes too far in either direction. I want hugs and tears and declarations of love (publicly, and to anybody who will listen), or I want a fight typically reserved for regular families, with as much baggage as possible brought in. The time for cold, icy silences is over. If years of dysfunction have taught me anything, it’s that massive familial events are always the perfect time to unpack decades of emotional baggage.
Kate lowering the public façade
Kate Middleton has a talent few of us do: she can maintain a smiling, public, professional face despite any and every extenuating circumstance. That woman has been combed over, talked about, compared, forced to smile amidst extreme morning sickness and rumours about her marriage, and made into a wax figure at Madame Tussaud’s. (Which, honestly, would traumatize me. I’ve seen House of Wax, and I trust no one.) Just once I would like her to lower the mask and lose her cool. Like the quiet, reserved, shy girl I went to high school with who didn’t think anybody could hear her when she was screaming at her brother in the kitchen (it happened, and I remember it 20 years later), I want Kate to expose herself as human being completely over this shit. I want her to roll her eyes. To say “Come on!” out loud when Charles III asks his peasants to swear allegiance. To reveal to a newspaper that she knows she could’ve done better, but William made sense at the time. To announce she’ll be starring in a Suits revival. I want to know Kate is one of us.
The entire thing cancelled and done remotely
For the last three years everything I’ve looked forward to has been cancelled and been held remotely. It’s fine and it works and I usually don’t bother attending in the end, but King Charles needs to know what it’s like. He needs to reconcile with the notion that we, as a people of this world, are constantly being disappointed by many things, and he should be no exception. Besides, I’ve watched The Crown and it seems like Charles’ entire life has been defined by let-downs. This would be an act of consistency, thus comforting in the end. (You’re welcome!)
Charles to abandon all the glitz and morph into a man of the people
Wouldn’t that be something? If, after all of this, he walked down the street in jeans and a hoodie, kicking it with Camilla before showing up to City Hall to sign something official? I understand that coronations connote the monarch has been chosen by God, but I also understand that thinking that in a real, authentic way should be cause for concern. (Imagine somebody saying that to you? “God picked me to be king.” I would feel so profoundly sad.)
Charles to pay for the coronation himself, maybe?
The thing about King Charles is that he is not hurting for cash. He inherited a mountain of money (tax-free!) from Queen Elizabeth, and is worth literal billions. And yet, the coronation is being paid for the by British public. And if they want to do that, okay sure! But if they don’t (and considering there’s a housing/food/economic/social crisis happening everywhere in the world, but especially in London), why not be the host who foots the bill?
As a person in this world, I’m not going to invite my friends to a party at my house and ask them to pay for all the food and beverages. I will accept their gifts obviously (I love gifts!), but it’s my party, so it’s my bill. Wouldn’t it be something if Charles broke from tradition and did the same? If he shed his image as a perpetually sad man, turned to the camera, and said, “Don’t worry, everybody – it’s on me!” before winking. Wouldn’t that be the best?
I mean, look: I know none of this is going to happen. And I know there are people who are genuinely excited to witness a coronation of a man who’s essentially been an intern for 70-something years. But I think we’re also all ready for change. I think it’s okay to question and re-configure systems that have been in place forever because those systems don’t tend to be universally helpful. (In fact, the monarchy has a very long history of being the opposite.) I also think it’s okay to hope (because hope is important) that maybe – maybe – after so much pushback and lacklustre response, the Royal Family will evolve and recognize that to truly represent one’s people, you’ve got to have their best interests at heart and challenge the traditions that don’t benefit anybody anymore. (See: most of them.) Pomp and circumstance is all well and good if everybody can enjoy it, but considering most of us are clipping coupons and buried in debt, a man in a golden coach asking us to have his back is one of the least enjoyable things I can think of. But hey: maybe he’ll show up in Levi’s.
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