Coronation Camaraderie: bunting, balloons & lots of bubbles

When the Queen died, it was most definitely the end of an era. Having been crowned in 1952, she became Monarch three years before I was born. So undoubtedly, she had been a key figure somewhere in the background of my entire life up to and until that point. I was saddened by her death. However, I was lucky enough to have met her on three occasions and admired her.

Looking forward to the coronation of our new King, Charles III, I am excited by a new era. This is a man who I personally feel has been overshadowed his whole life. And yet in the balance, he has been a powerful force for good. He was a man before his time in so many ways. When it comes to working with young people, saving the planet, reviving heritage crafts and changing the face of farming. Yet he has been dogged by bad press and controversy most of his life.

What is fascinating is the vehemence with which people view and speak about this man. Not just those who are anti-Royal but those who were ardent fans of Diana. Had the participants not been who they were, Charles’s life would have played out very differently. And everybody would be heralding his relationship with Camilla as one of the greatest ‘true’ love stories of our time. (Man meets woman and falls in love; man is prevented from marrying said love. In spite of everything, man cannot put his love to one side. And eventually, against all the odds, ends up marrying her after a relationship that has spanned over fifty years. This is because they just couldn’t let each other go.) Oh, I know, I’m just an old romantic. But at its basic level and regardless of which side you fall on, that is the truth.

For me, the monarchy is part of our history, it’s part of the equation. To understand this country and the evolution of its Monarchy is to understand where we are today and help us try to avoid some of the mistakes of the past. Or at least one would hope so. Whenever the Royal debate crops up, though, I am reminded of a funny incident shortly after I moved here, which kind of typifies the situation.

I was in Waitrose one day during the time of one such royal celebration when they brought out a commemorative carrier bag. In front of me, an elderly lady, having reached the till, demanded her carrier bag. The assistant apologised profusely and said that they hadn’t been brought to the tills yet, but this lady was having none of it, demanding one be found as it was her ‘right’ as a customer to have one. The whole queue was kept waiting whilst the assistant called the manager, and a minion was dispatched upstairs to find the carrier bags as she refused to pack her items into an ordinary bag.

We all stood waiting behind her, holding our shopping and twiddling our thumbs. The assistant attempting to lighten the mood by making conversation said to the elderly lady: “ I watched the documentary about Prince Philip the other night; it was fascinating. Did you see it?” To which the elderly lady immediately responded: “Certainly not! I’m not a Royalist, you know!”

The whole queue went silent, studied their feet, twiddled with their buttons or peered up at the ceiling, not daring to catch each other’s eye for fear of laughing out loud.

Coronation Camaraderie
Photo by Shann

In any case though controversial for some, I look forward to the event. Whole communities and households will have an excuse to come together for parties and gatherings. It is an opportunity to bring people out of their houses for a shared purpose. In my area alone, the call has gone out for neighbours to knock on doors and look out for others. The over-sixties have all been invited to a cream tea in the community hall, where the event will be screened on large screens. Whole streets will be closed off as everybody comes together in shared celebration.

Living alone, I have also been invited to a friend’s house, where we all bring a dish. We will spend the day together watching it on TV, eating, drinking and chatting together as the day unfolds. My two furry beasties will have a Union Jack bow on their collars, and we will enjoy the day.

I love the sense of bonhomie. But importantly, it gives people an opportunity to make those connections that perhaps they wouldn’t have thought of making. When I moved here, I knew absolutely no one and having no family, I was quite isolated. In 2011 someone knocked on my door and asked if I would be interested in helping organise a street party for the Royal Wedding. I said yes. At those planning meetings, I made my first real friend, who is still one of my close friends today.

Coronation Camaraderie

So regardless of our political views, let’s view this as an opportunity to grasp with both hands the power of coming together. Let’s get involved, come out from behind our front doors to mingle with our neighbours. Check on the elderly and share a glass with friends. If we view it as a chance to make new connections and cement old ones, it can only ever be a force for good. You don’t need buntings or a Union Jack hat or even a passion for the Monarchy, just good intentions and an open heart.

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The Scary Dog Lady
The Scary Dog Lady
22 days ago

I agree with your sentiments completely. It is an event to bring communities together regardless of your views on our royal family.