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No ermine for Charles’ coronation

January 27, 2003


LONDON: Prince Charles is to be crowned in a ‘dress down’ coronation. Plans being made to modernise the event will lead to comparisons with the acclaimed ‘people’s funeral’ held for his late ex-wife, Princess Diana.

A wider range of guests will be invited than in the past. But traditionalist courtiers are aghast at a proposal that Charles should not wear velvet and ermine coronation robes. Instead he would wear naval uniform.

Numerous representatives of charities and Britain’s minority ethnic communities are to be invited to the coronation for the first time, if the arrangements being considered by advisers to the royal family are adopted. But as a result hundreds of hereditary peers, already bruised by their ejection from the House of Lords, will not receive an invitation which many regard as part of their birthright.

‘However much one venerates tradition, and one certainly does, there’s an awareness that some things might look silly in the modern age,’ said one courtier who has been consulted.

Courtiers steeped in tradition fear that ditching any established element of the coronation ceremony might further threaten the mystique of the monarchy.

The Queen’s coronation was based almost to the letter on that of her father, King George VI, in 1937. His was modelled on that of King George V in 1911. Admiral Sir Henry Leach, who was involved in the 1953 coronation as a naval lieutenant-commander, recalled: ‘Comprehensive records had been kept, of course, and they could all be looked up.’

Lord St John of Fawsley, a veteran monarchist and close friend of the late Queen Mother, said: ‘It’s certainly a good idea to have a lot of different organisations and people represented.’—Dawn/The Guardian News Service.