‘king Charles III

So there’s been a coronation here.

You might have missed it: I sadly found that I had other, unavoidable, commitments all weekend.

Given that many of our readers might be working in states that have made the (not actually that difficult) leap to becoming republics, this is maybe a good point to suggest some resources for class discussion about constitutional monarchies, and whether they are morally defensible.

I raise this partly because of the arrival of someone new on the throne of the United Kingdom, but partly because it’s also a good way into some basic questions about constitutional design and the relationship between governors and governed.

Moreover, as much as you saw a bunch of Brits all dressed up in union jack-print clothing and cheering the pagent of it all, there were plenty of others from whom it wasn’t a thing at all.

To get a sense of the ambivalence around the coronation and the installation of Charles III, visit the BBC website to see the kinds of stories being created: not quite the effusive or fawning position you might have expected (even if the BBC isn’t a government-funded news channel, Elon).

The Guardian offers a more critical take, on the back of recent investigations into the Royal Family’s extensive assets, but also some archive content to further point up How Times Have Changed.

You might also explore the semiotics of more pro-Royal outlets like The Sun or the Daily Mail. The framing of the Royals as celebrities here is perhaps my main takeaway; any notion of leadership feels distinctly in second place.

Which begs a question of why we put up with it all?

There’s plenty of polling on this (here and here, for example) which highlights the benign neglect of most people: it’s fine, but also not that important.

The question of what you’d replace the Crown with is also a not unimportant point: even Republic, a key protest group, are clearer about problems than solutions.

And for a more scholarly overview, there’s this from my colleagues at UK in a Changing Europe.

Finally, if that’s not enough to stimulate class discussion, try a taste comparison of the official dishes of the past two coronations: Coronation Chicken (Elizabeth II), and, um, Coronation Quiche (Charles III).