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A royal expert weighs in on King Charles’ coronation

By Joe Thomson May 1, 2023 | 4:10 PM

Roberto Catarinicchia / Unsplash

Millions of people across the world will be tuning into King Charles’ coronation this Saturday.

Dr. Barry MacKenzie, history professor and royal expert at St.FX University, says that the coronation is a unique opportunity for the whole world to experience a millennia old tradition in real time.

“In 1953, people in the UK who were fortunate enough to own or be able to rent a television, because in those days you could rent a TV, were able to watch it live on British television. The rest of the world had to wait for that footage to be flown across the Atlantic, or the Pacific, or wherever it was going,” said MacKenzie.

He said that regardless of how you feel about the monarchy, it is worthwhile to watch at least part of the coronation to take in the massive spectacle of it all.

“We don’t get to see many of them in our lifetime. So, it’s something worth taking in whether you’re a card-carrying monarchist like me, or whether you’re just a curious onlooker,” said MacKenzie.

The coronation ceremonies have changed significantly over the years and this weekend’s will be notably different than Queen Elizabeth’s in 1953, but many of the historic traditions are still in place.

MacKenzie says that viewers will surely be taken by some of the more symbolic parts of the ceremony. Such as the presentation of the scepter, orb, and various other bits of regalia that the King will don. However, it will be juxtaposed with notably modern touches to reflect the current time.

“When these sorts of things are discussed throughout the course of the ceremony it’s really going to seem archaic, in that sense. But then the presence of recently composed music is going to remind us that, ‘Oh, wow, this this is an actual living, breathing ceremony that is evolving all the time’,” said MacKenzie.

Despite the coronation’s historical significance, Canadians appetite for consuming royal content have drastically diminished in recent years. The passing of Queen Elizabeth has left many questioning the importance of the monarchy in Canadian culture. While MacKenzie says he doesn’t think the monarchy is going anywhere anytime soon, he sees its place in society fading further into the background as more and more Canadians grow increasingly apathetic towards it.

Regardless of its place in our society, the coronation is sure to be an interesting viewing experience.

MacKenzie says he’ll be tuning in with millions of others to see it all take place.

“I’ll be up bleary eyed, like a lot of people, at five o’clock, watching the pre-show, just being grateful that I don’t live on the West Coast or in the Pacific somewhere,” said MacKenzie.


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