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An Ambivalent American Voyeur Awaits the Coronation

Updated: May 1, 2023

By Naomi Serviss / New York City




As the royal spectacle approaches on Saturday, May 6, I’m suffocating beneath hyperbolic blather and gossip.

Yes…I want to know!

It fascinates me on a deep, childhood level. It’s make-believe come true!

Yet...it’s a royal mess.

The world has to stop because King Charles’ ship has finally docked?

What is this, Downton Abbey?

Aren’t monarchies slightly passé, perhaps?

After all these years demonstrably honoring his (late) Queen mother, but perhaps secretly coveting her crown sooner than later!

Nah.

Charles disdained being Prince of Wales, constantly under the microscope. After all, he’s always been a nerdy, bookish type, reserved, self-absorbed (shall I continue?).

Why would he look forward to a heavier public weight?

Regardless, he’s been swamped by his to-do list since the Spare and his wife quit The Firm and ratted out to Oprah and auctioned their souls to Netflix.

Charles should be worried.

A YouGov (British) poll revealed that 64% of Brits surveyed felt meh about the celebrations. Under 10 percent cared greatly.

Huh? And Americans are chomping on the proverbial bit, waiting for the fan to be hit!

Funny thing, about the monarchy business (and it is a business). No other European monarchs go through traditional pomp and circumstances anymore.

As in, being crowned, and all that entails.

Which apparently, is a lot of dough.

The last heavy-duty, razzle-dazzle coronation took place in Spain, 1555.

Maybe bowing and scraping to actual royalty has run its course and stained enough history books. The honest ones, at least. Sweden, Denmark and Norway monarchies doomed the practice in 1906.

It saved boatloads of money in many denominations.

Around 100 million pounds for this year’s festivities. Billed to the taxpayers.

Did you know there’s no legal need for a coronation?

Me neither.

Charles is already considered king with or without the fancy certificate.

I mean, crown, et les accoutrements.

That fact was sealed at the accession council, days after the Queen’s death.

So why the hubbub?

Could it be a cynical ploy for positive press in the midst of the Harry vs. William debacle?

This coronation and the months leading up to it, have been huge tourist attractions. The public loves this real-life soap opera.

Maybe the Princess will stroll over to where you’re standing (!) and share childcare tips or have an intimate “heart-to-heart!” Noblesse oblige to the max.

But look!

Golden coaches! Castles! Royalty! It’s Actual Reality!

Maybe the coronation will help me forgive Camilla. It still burns me up that she had such a long game in mind. She and Charles fit together like worn-in leather mitts. They look like a proper (pinkie up) sun-loving senior couple, leathery and wrinkly.



His lined face, product of years spent doing outdoorsy things. Like shooting animals. (Another notch against traditions for tradition’s’ sake.) Charles appears more thoughtful (probably his leather lines) and at least he’s trying (like I know) for a warm relationship with his first-born, William, and his family.

Maybe he was a lousy father, (was he ever a dad?), an emotionally abusive husband to our Diana, but he seems to be appreciative of being a grandpop. Or whatever the in-bred, er, English, terminology.

As long as he remains in their lives, he’ll provide a ballast against the crazy public adoration and trashy tabloid tales the royals inspire.

Meghan and Harry are in the crosshairs of everyone these days. Rumor has it that Harry will be sitting ten rows behind the royal family, possibly instructed not to wear his military insignia.

Remember when he mentioned how he considered his 25 military hits as “units” instead of people he killed with his sniper’s rifle? Now you will.

Ouch, another tightening of the screw.

More popcorn, please!

What was Meghan’s excuse, er, reason for declining an invite?! Yes, her son Archie’s birthday was the same date as the Coronation but SO WHAT?

It would have been the right thing to do, bringing the whole nuclear unit as a cohesive family, instead of sending Harry solo. Probably a relief to many, but what a selfish, stupid decision. Just saying!

I admit years ago, before Meghan, I felt the sorriest for Harry--losing a beloved mother at such a tender age, then being the wild child and letting it all hang out. Literally. He did drugs, alcohol, weed, whatever was at hand.

He dated around and lost his cherry behind a barn with an “older” woman.

Unfortunately, for him, all of it had been tabloid-documented and irrefutable.

He’s acting out,” I would tell myself. But his façade splintered. I realized this kid had no smarts about him. Coddled all his life by his parents when available, waited on hand and foot by caregivers, with a “ginger” personality trait to boot: fiery and unpredictable.

I even forgave his stupid decision, maybe egged on by William (!) to wear a Nazi uniform to a costume party. A vile suggestion.

When he married Meghan, I had never heard of her television show (Suits) but there was something off about her, beautiful but not poised, more like posed, and she didn’t pass the smell test. Learned personally from my friend, the late NYT photographer Dith Pran, (yes THAT Dith Pran!).

He said he could tell if a person was of good character by their smell. Like an aura. He learned a lot in Cambodia’s killing fields.

Couldn’t guess Meghan’s vibe, but she seemed to be acting. The Oprah confessional was informative, but when I learned the way Harry calms his stress, was “Tapping” I almost did a

Danny Thomas spit-take.

Tapping is a mind-body method of tapping acupuncture points on your hands, face and body with your fingertips

I, too, dealt with major stressors and at one desperate point, Tapping was recommended. It felt better than inversion boot therapy. In theory, at least.

Maybe silly, but mildly hypnotic and it kept time with my migraine’s pounding. Beyond that it did no earthly good to my psyche and it made my fingers cold.

Still, I read Spare, Harry’s (and his ghost writer’s) dumb book (VERY dumb) and was not interested in how he almost froze his wienie off in an arctic plunge.

But The Spare had to share.

He cheerfully wrote about his various psychedelic trips and still supports the use of the drugs to deal with his PTSD.





People showing up to watch the Coronation are to be part of a million-voiced chorus to swear allegiance to the King and his heirs.

This public pledge (can you imagine doing that?) is one of several changes to the ancient ceremony, which includes female clergy. Religious leaders from other faiths will actively participate (another first).

The Christian service will be the first to incorporate other languages spoken in Britain, with a hymn

to be sung in Welsh, Scottish, Gaelic and Irish Gaelic.

King Charles will be crowned by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Coronation regalia will astound: bracelets, the robe, the ring and the glove. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

After the religious service the King will receive a greeting by Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, Sikh, and Hindu leaders.

A screen will hide the sacred act of anointing a monarch with holy oil, a tradition traced to the seventh century, with a nod to God.

William and Catherine are pitch-perfect young royals. They seem to have it together, raising their photogenic kids with insight and humor. Hopefully, it’s not a charade.

When they smile at each other, their emotions seem plain-spoken. (When Meghan stares adoringly at her ginger man, she’s primed for a director’s “Cut!”) Traditions they’re upholding

he exudes a genuine warmth, staged or not. But openly gushed when an admirer pointed to her sapphire ring. It had been one of Diana’s favorites and was now reportedly one of Catherine’s.

Can we concentrate on the pomp and ceremony without fringe whispering?

Afraid not.

I’ve been invested in English royalty since falling in love with Diana,

when she was innocent and unwise in love.

She also had two children roughly the same ages as mine, born 19 months apart. I knew what she was going through as a hands-on mother.

As much as she was able to be one.

Diana was used and abused shamefully, exploited by The Firm without encouragement or mental health support. Ironic, in light of what we know now of food disorders and body dysmorphia. Mental illness is a hitchhiker.

But I digress.

This historic Coronation will to be a bombastic bash and my popcorn is ready. Yours?

 






Naomi Serviss is a New York-based award-winning journalist whose work has been published in The New York Times, Newsday, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Highroads (AAA magazine), in-flight publications, spa and travel magazines and websites, including BroadwayWorld.com

3 comments

3 opmerkingen


Gast
05 mei 2023

Right on! Great article. Do you like butter on your popcorn 🍿?


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Gast
03 mei 2023

Rumor has it that pitch-perfect William has a girlfriend in town.

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naomi.serviss
naomi.serviss
05 mei 2023
Reageren op

Which town?

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