Monday, May 01, 2023

Bread and Circuses

 One man is king only because other men stand in the relation of subjects to him. They, on the contrary, imagine they are subjects because he is the king.

Karl Marx. Footnote. Capital Volume One 

‘Many UK people will have struggled last month to escape the stadium-volume hullabaloo as the superannuated CEO of The Firm finally hung up her tiara and departed from her pampered life of ‘devoted service’, triggering a long-prepared barrage of nauseating hagiographies, crocodile tears and posturing TV gravitas. At least workers got an extra bank holiday out of it, which helped put the fun back into ‘state funeral’. Meanwhile certain activists, as reported in the Guardian, were keeping a very low profile, for fear of being trolled, cancelled or petrol bombed for the political viewpoint that, for the time being anyway, dared not speak its name: republicanism, the quest for the abolition of the monarchy. ‘

“Next week’s coronation of King Charles III will feature an invitation for all British people to swear their allegiance to the new monarch and his descendants in what organizers have billed as a “chorus of millions.”

The ceremony has been revised to include a “homage of the people,” rather than the traditional “homage of peers” in which dukes pledge their allegiance to the sovereign, according to plans announced on Saturday by the Church of England. 

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will call upon “all persons of goodwill” in the UK and its territories – those attending the ceremony at Westminster Abbey and those watching on television or the  internet – to recite the following vows: “I swear that I will pay true allegiance to Your Majesty and to your heirs and successors according to the law, so help me God.” The archbishop will then proclaim, “God save the king” and ask all to respond: “God save King Charles. Long live King Charles. May the king live forever.”

The public pledge is among several tweaks to a ceremony with ancient traditions, some of which date back nearly half a millennium. “Our hope is at that point, when the archbishop invites people to join in, that people wherever they are, if they’re watching at home on their own, watching the telly, will say it out loud – this sense of a great cry around the nation and around the world of support for the king,” a Lambeth Palace spokesperson said.

Among other changes to the traditional ceremony, the coronation will feature female clergy taking a prominent role and leaders of other faiths presenting the king with regalia for the events, including his robe, ring and bracelets. 

A hymn will be sung in Welsh, Scottish Gaelic and Irish Gaelic. The service will celebrate tradition while adding “new elements that reflect the diversity of our contemporary society,” the archbishop said.

However, King Charles III will take the traditional oaths, including a pledge to maintain “the Protestant Reformed religion.” 

The archbishop will preface the oath by saying that the Church of England will seek to foster an environment where “people of all faiths and beliefs may live freely.”

RT 30/4/23


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