Much pomp and a crowning glory

Does the USA miss the mysticism of monarchy?

It is another character fault: The Head Groundskeeper is a monarchist. The Stately Manor’s b&w Philco broadcast all four hours of the coronation of King Charles v3.0 Saturday 05-06-23. Made America’s presidential inaugurations look like a drive-through at Mickie D’s.

The royals rode to venerable Westminster Abbey in a six-horse drawn, black and gold coach equipped with electronic ride leveling devices, air conditioning, and power windows. So the knowledgable BBC presenters told us via C-Span, uninterrupted. The parade featured something unknown on these shores: a marching band — on horseback! How does the guy who bangs the drums steer his horse? With stirrups connected to his feet!

On the way back, the newly crowneds rode the poorly suspended but spectacular Gold State Coach. It was built for George v3.0’s coronation in 1761 but not completed in time, probably due to supply-chain issues.

Those links to the past cement the future

The coronation ceremony — an initiation rite on a grand scale — was embedded into a Christian Mass officiated by the Archbishop of Canterbury and lots of help. Although Charles v3.0 swore holy war on Catholic priests as part of the oath of office (required in 1701 after the Catholic James 2 was chased out of the country ), the new King thought to invite blessings from many faiths, including the Sikhs and the Catholic cardinal archbishop of England. Speaking of the Pope, Francis v1.0 gifted Charles v3.0  with two splinters of wood said to come from the miraculously inexhaustible True Cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified. They were encased  in the silver cross made for the event that led the coronation procession. Neat! 

The official Coronation website.

Random and irreverent thought: if the states were only now being colonized, two of them would be called North Camilla and South Camilla.

Lots of really old stuff!

The crown itself was crafted for the second Charles in 1661 after the first Charles felt the axe. The groundlings at Stately Blaska Manor were especially taken by the segment where the officiants handed Charles 3 a collection of old stuff. The PBS Antiques Road Show must have been green with envy! Each presented by a different officiant!

• A golden orb, first handed to the second Charles when the monarchy was restored after Oliver Cromwell.  Said to represent the earth itself.

• St. Augustine’s Gospel Book, scribed shortly after the fall of the Roman Empire.

• An 11th Century silver spoon to dollop holy oils in a top-secret anointing, which was done behind a screen. (Someone will relate the inside story in one of the British tabloids.)

• To hold the oil an ampulla that resembles a small, golden Maltese Falcon. The oil was harvested from the Mount of Olives (extra-virgin?).

• A huge white leather glove symbolizing the king as protector of the people. (Also suitable for outdoor grilling.) 

• Two swords; “bracelets of sincerity and wisdom;” two two scepters — one, a symbol of power and justice, another to symbolize equity and mercy; and a gold rod, signifying temporal power.

• Spurs made for King Charles version One in 1661 but a feature of coronations since Richard the Lionhearted in 1189; rings and other things.

The coronation chair first used by Edward 2 in 1308. Thirteen-oh-eight! The U.S. has mountain ranges that aren’t that old! Under the chair is the 336-pound Stone of Scone, used for centuries in the coronation of Scottish kings until King Ed One stole it. You could do that in those days.

And cool duds! More costume changes than a Broadway musical! which featured in the Coronation Services of King George IV in 1821, King George V in 1911, King George VI in 1937 and Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. Apparel with their own unique names like “Colobium Sindonis,” the “Supertunica and Imperial Mantle.” Not a Nike swoop in sight!

Let there be music

A total of 192 microphones were placed throughout the ancient Abbey to record the 8 choirs and 8 orchestras for a commemorative music album recorded live on the spot. Some old: A Byzantine chant in Greek to honor Prince Philip; Bach, Strauss. Handel (for a piece first composed for George 2 in 1727); and Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance. Twelve new pieces written for the coronation (six orchestral, five choral and one on organ): Opera star Bryn Terfel singing Paul Mealor’s Coronation Kyrie Eleison — in Welsh; Andrew Lloyd Webber (“Make a Joyful Noise”); and black gospel performed by a quintet.

Far as we could observe, not a missed note or a false step. No one dropped any orbs or succumbed to St. Vitus’ Dance. Even Prince Harry behaved himself.

What Beatles song would have worked at the coronation?

Coordinating a thousand moving pieces

That’s what leaves our jaw slightly agape even these two days later. The two-hour service itself was complex enough. The parades, coming and going, featured 19 military bands, 4,000 sailors, soldiers, aviators, and marines in parade dress. From many nations. A flyover. Police cordoning off the crowds and subduing troublemakers. 

So much that was not visible Saturday. Tedious meetings to decide who among the 2,300 attendees sits where. (Prince Harry: “I must be in the front row.” Not!) Who gets on the invite list and who does not. Who is put on standby to fill no-show seats.

Someone had to make arrangements for all six living past prime ministers to arrive at the same time. (“Liz Truss? O.K., her, too.”) The courtiers who designed one-off dresses for Princess Charlotte and child and other leading ladies. The nameless functionary who saw to it that sufficient hotel rooms would be reserved for the likes of Macron, Trudeau, Mrs. Biden, and the black female bishop from Jamaica. The army of royal horse poop scoopers.

Blaska’s Bottom Line: All of which is to say, the British monarchy proved its worth Saturday. “The firm” engaged countless facets of the nation to knit together what our Abraham Lincoln called “the mystic chords of memory.” Instead of preparing for war, a nation remembered what was great, reverenced that which is lasting, celebrated the beautiful, and appealed to something greater than man — to the divine. The king’s crown of 2,868 diamonds, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds, and 269 pearls, the Archbishop of Canterbury cautioned, is but an imitation of Christ’s crown of thorns.

The British constitutional monarchy is “above politics” — the coronation spoke of God and duty, service and sacrifice. The USA has nothing like that. Wish we did.

What royal family would YOU choose for the USA? 

(There are about 600 Habsburgs looking for a gig.
If you don’t like them, you can just shoot them like Mexico did.)

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About David Blaska

Madison WI
This entry was posted in Harry and Meghan, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Much pomp and a crowning glory

  1. Pingback: Much pomp and a crowning glory – Wisconsin Family News

  2. Kevin Cole says:

    My mind always go back to Monte Python for these occasions:

    “Strang women lyin’ in ponds distributin’ swords is no system for a basis of government” – Dennis

    …or in reference to the orb (aka the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch)

    “O Lord, bless this thy Hand Grenade that with it thou mayest blow thine enemies to tiny bits, in thy mercy.”

    Amen

    Like

    • Kevin S Wymore says:

      Since somebody indeed DID ask me, I’m going with Queen Condoleeza Rice of the USA. Dignity and grace would make a comeback.

      Sez who? Sez me…

      Like

  3. westsidesue says:

    Mr. Blaska, you never cease to amaze and amuse me! Very enjoyable read on Corrie. Surely a clever boy like you could have convinced the horsie contingent to let you do some scooping so you could get up close and personal to Chuckie and his main squeeze. I know. I have no reverence. It comes from growing up in the shadow of the Bunker Hill Monument next to the FREEDOM trail, and marrying a descendant of the red coats, so I got the complete skinny on what it’s like growing up steeped in the pomp and circumstance. Maybe you’ll be around when Willie gets crowned. P.S. I notice you put yourself next to the most attractive royal. Hmmmm.

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  4. Montgomery Scott says:

    What Beatles song would have worked at the coronation?

    “Sun King” (or is it Son King?)
    “Here Comes the Sun” (or is it Here Comes the Son?)
    “Come Together” – nice crowd from around the world attended this party
    Side note – I sense an Abbey Road theme here…

    “Misery” – for those attendees at Westminster Abbey who had too much tea to
    drink beforehand and couldn’t get up to get to the bathroom and thus
    break Protocol
    “Yesterday” – for those who already miss Queen Elizabeth (I & II) and her steady
    hand on the tiller of state (or for that matter, Queen Victoria, King
    George V, and King George VI)
    “Back in the U.S.S.R.” – oops, sorry, wrong country and broken up empire…
    “Ticket to Ride” – yeah, it would be cool to ride in those carriages riding by adoring
    fans, many whom it seemed were from the United States from
    interviews by reporters covering the event.
    “Long and Winding Road” – that is what the road looked like for the parade route
    to and from Westminster Abbey.

    Is this enough for you, Dave? 😏

    Scotty

    Liked by 1 person

    • Montgomery Scott says:

      And I should have said “I sense a(n) (Westminster) Abbey Road theme here…”

      Scotty

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  5. Gary L. Kriewald says:

    Prince William (one day King William V) and his family are eminently fit to preside over the UK AND the US. Dignified without being pompous, attractive without being glitzy, photogenic without being poseurs (unlike his brother and the woman he married), and as humble as it’s possible to be in their position, they could serve as royal family for the US until CR III’s reign ends–which will probably not be for some time given his parents’ impressive longevity.

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  6. A Voice in the Wilderness says:

    A royal family ruling the U.S?! For me it’s a choice between the Addams Family or Mickey and Minnie Mouse along with their dog, Pluto.

    The shiny trappings of monarchy would soon wear off. You want jewels and crowns? Try a museum or the Tower of London. A coach and six? Get a time machine or a date with Cinderella.

    Like

  7. A Voice in the Wilderness says:

    As for Chuckie and his “main squeeze” Queen Consort Camilla, I agree with the dearly departed Princess Di. Camilla has the smile of a Rottweiler.

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  8. Stephen M Bledsoe says:

    where the heck was the former quarterback from from Green Bay? he would have fit in there right royally.

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