From earliest times, the sacred vestments and chantings of our national coronations have provided camouflage for the blunt and often bloodstained realities of English power politics.
This week’s glorious coronation of King Charles III conjures memories going back 10 centuries in the UK. On Christmas Day 1066, Westminster Abbey rang to the cries of “God Save the King!” for William the Conqueror, founder of Britain’s modern monarchy and effectively the country’s chief executive in 21st century terms – ruling the kingdom with his powerfully wielded sword.
By comparison, the modern King Charles III is a figurehead – constitutionally restrained from getting involved in politics.
As a keen environmentalist, the new King would like to travel to the Cop28 climate conference when it takes place in the UAE, in Dubai Expo City later this year – and the hope is that UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will be happy for him to attend. But last year Mr Sunak’s predecessor Liz Truss stopped King Charles from attending Cop27 in Egypt’s Sharm El Sheikh: Britain’s then-prime minister had no time for eco-conferences, though the King had made no secret of his wish to be present.
This royal lack of ultimate authority stems from another King Charles – King Charles I – who reigned over Great Britain and Ireland from 1625 until 1649, when his people ordered his head to be cut off. Their monarch had attempted to rule without their consent. This first Charles to reign over Britain had even fought a civil war against Parliament, and he was duly rewarded for his defiance of the popular will. The King was put on trial for treason, and he was ceremonially beheaded in front of awed crowds on January 30, 1649.
Robert Lacey writes for The National, Dubai. Read the full article: https://www.thenationalnews.com/weekend/2023/05/05/king-charles-iii-coronation/