By Harry Mottram: Across Bath and North East Somerset there are 44 official street parties planned and no doubt there are quite a few unofficial ones which will spring up on the day if the weather is fine. There’s a considerable amount of debate in the media, online and in pubs, cafes and front parlours about the merits of the Coronation and even the legitimacy of the Royal Family and King Charles in particular. Opinion polls indicate a steady decline in support for the Royal Family as an institution and while there is still a majority in favour overall, among younger people aged 18-24 there is a majority against the idea of a head of state being decided by birth.
This news highlighted in the recent Panorama programme on the BBC will not be warmly greeted by the monarch’s PR department. Queen Elizabeth II and her father King George VI were viewed with warmth by a clear majority of the public, in part due to the King’s role in World War 2 and the Queen’s commitment to her role as a neutral and unifying head of state.
With the divorce of the Prince of Wales from Princess Diana, his subsequent marriage to Camilla Parker Bowles and a number of controversies involving members of the Royal Family from Prince Andrew’s association with Jeffrey Epstein, the bust up between Princes Harry and William and the ongoing soap opera involving Meghan and Harry, haven’t helped.
King Charles has often joked about his name sake Charles I and his hopes he won’t suffer the same fate at the hands of an executioner. Commentators suggest he will do better than expected – especially if he can patch things up with this sons and connect more with the general public.
The pressure group Republic have seen an increase in membership and visibility due to its coordinated efforts to raise their goal of abolishing the monarchy and replacing it with an elected head of state. Whether they achieve their aim soon seems unlikely although who knows what will happen in the future.
So back to the Coronation where Bathonians (whether Royalists or Republicans) will enjoy a bank holiday – assuming they have the day off. Coronation events at Bath Abbey include a Royal Celebration Concert on Friday, May 5 and a live broadcast of the Coronation on the Saturday. There will also be special services on Sunday, May 7 with a drop-in family craft activity on the Monday.
There is a Coronation Street Party, at The Raven of Bath pub – Saturday 6 May 11am to 9pm, Queen’s Street; in Batheaston there is a Coronation Street Party on Sunday 7 May 12pm to 8pm, at Riverside Park; Keynsham has a Picnic in the Park on Sunday 7 May 12pm to 5pm, at the Memorial Park. Plus there are events at Central Library for families including craft sessions for decorating and wearing your own crown.
See https://bathneslibraries.wordpress.com/2023/03/31/library-events-king-charles-iii-coronation/ for details.
The Coronation of their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla takes place on Saturday, May 6 at Westminster Abbey and it will be on TV.
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