The Coronation Weekend closes with a bank holiday and the return of rain, but Sunday was sunny for community picnics.
Saturday, day of the coronation, it drizzled and rained in London, while here it poured with rain all morning; families planning to watch on big screens and have a picnic with their friends were disappointed. But apart from the weather, which had been forecast all along, the coronation went well. For those looking forward to the coronation it lived up to their expectations.
My invitation to The Abbey?
If you were inside Westminster Abbey, early as directed, there was music to entertain you in the long wait for the royal arrival. If you were watching on television and switched on early you would know that five thousand military personnel arrived at Waterloo Station by train and marched over Westminster Bridge to take part in the procession. There were plenty more interesting snippets from commentators about the day’s plan’s, from how the many troops would line up ready to march, to the names of all the horses ( well not all of them ). At the abbey entrance we could see who was arriving and have fun trying to identify them. As the King and Queen left Buckingham Palace and the mounted guards and bands led the procession up The Mall, there were intriguing comments from the commentator which set off my writer’s imagination. ‘Apollo’s playing up’ . Hmm story idea, what if Apollo suddenly decided, after all the parades he’s been in, to make a bid for freedom!
Apollo the Drum Horse will be ridden by Lance Corporal Chris Diggle from the Band of the Household Cavalry. The nine-year-old horse stands at over 17 hands (1.73 metres) tall and weighs in at nearly 800 kilograms. He is described as a “big friendly giant” who “loves attention”.
The coronation service was full of contrasts; the guests in the abbey representing all strands of modern society and every religion as promised, but they were there to witness an ancient ceremony with aspects going far back beyond our own history to King Solomon being anointed with oil by Zadok the Priest.
It was a long service with lots of symbolic items being handed around, people with strange titles in all sorts of outfits and new and traditional music. Whether you were in the abbey or watching on television the history, music and human interest made it a unique experience. King Charles was probably one of the few people who had actually been to a coronation before. Even for regular church goers there were odd aspects to grasp. The strange chanting of psalm 71 by the Greek Orthodox choir seemed to take us right back to the time of King David.
The even bigger procession back to the palace was a feat of precision. Earlier in the week on the news channel we had seen the late night full rehearsal, strangely ghost like; now it was in full colour. There were more interesting touches. I liked the fact that Princess Anne nipped off to get changed then leapt onto her horse to join in the procession.
‘She gave a rare interview to CBC news that aired on Monday, saying: “I have a role as the Colonel of the Blues and Royals in the Household Cavalry regiment as Gold Stick. And Gold Stick was the original close protection officer.’
The coronation was always going to be a contrast to most people’s lives. Most people don’t go to church and have little to do with the military, while the royals are steeped in the traditions of both. But does the fact that so many people turn out for every royal occasion and many at home love to watch, demonstrate we love that which is outside our every day lives and is part of our history and heritage?
For those who were not interested in the coronation or averse to royalty there is always somewhere peaceful to get away from it all.
Did you watch, did you enjoy the coronation?