Published:  03:56 AM, 06 May 2023

Coronation of King Charles III and British Indians

Coronation of King Charles III and British Indians

 Radhika Iyer

The public pledge of allegiance to King Charles III at his upcoming coronation ceremony has stirred a controversy among many Britons. British Indians have expressed mixed views over the first-of-its-kind move by the UK royals.

Millions of people are expected to watch the coronation ceremony of King Charles III and the Queen Consort at the Westminster Abbey in London this Saturday.

During the ceremony, the Archbishop of Canterbury will call on all Britons to swear allegiance to the King and his successors.
The order of service will read: "All who so desire, in the Abbey and elsewhere to say together: I swear that I will pay true allegiance to Your Majesty and to your heirs and successors according to law. So, help me God."

Several British Indians, especially young professionals, shared their views with NDTV if they would pledge allegiance to King Charles.
Mya Sharma, a 23-year-old London-based finance professional and businesswoman, said she will skip taking the pledge.
"I don't think I'll be taking the pledge, my reason being the pledge includes the line of succession. While I support the monarchy today, I may or may not in the future," she said.

Dr Priya Virmani, a writer, said the move is inclusive and optional, not a command.

"It is optional and not a command. In a true democratic style, it means we have a choice. In historical context, this comes from a feudal mindset where only peers would give this pledge during coronation. But now it is by the people of this nation, so I think it is the coming together of everyone on one single platform. It can be seen as inclusive," said Dr Virmani.

The royal programmes are often national events in the UK, like the jubilee and royal weddings, coronations, and state funerals. A whopping 100 million pounds is expected to be spent on the coronation ceremony with activities spilling over three days.

Pranav Bhanot, a lawyer and supporter of the monarchy, said he will take the pledge as the royal event marks a sense of unity among the Britons.
"I feel I have a close relationship with the royal family, having had the honour to meet the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and the King recently. In London, there is a degree of coming togetherness this weekend because of the Royal Family. Although the country is divided politically, it will see a unification during the time of the coronation," he said.

He said the Royal Family needs to connect with the young generation to stay relevant.
"I will probably take the pledge. But there is a lot more they could do, like appeal to the young people. The appeal to the 18-25 year-olds is at an all-time low at the moment and that can change. If they wish to stay relevant and attractive for the coming years, then they will need to connect with the youth and new generations," he added.

Ahead of his coronation, the King and the Queen Consort will be a part of a procession to Westminster Abbey from Buckingham Palace and also attend a ceremonial flypast from the palace balcony.

Rishi Sunak, the first British prime minister of Indian origin, will read from a biblical book at the coronation ceremony. He and his wife, Akshata Murty, will also lead a procession of flag-bearers.

Big Coronation Lunches, in which people will be out on the streets to party and eat together, will be held on Sunday while Monday has been declared a bank holiday in the UK. The 'Big Help Out' initiative will see thousands volunteering in their neighbourhood to help the society.

Rituals, including the recognition, coronation oath,  anointing, investiture and enthronement, will form the stages of the coronation service. The first processions into Westminster Abbey will be of representatives and leaders from different faiths and Commonwealth countries.

During the recognition, King Charles will stand beside the Coronation Chair and will be presented by the archbishop to the people within the Abbey. They will then state: God save the King!

During the oath, the king will pledge to uphold the law and the Church.
The anointing involves removing the king’s ceremonial robe and sitting on the Coronation Chair. The archbishop will anoint the king with holy oil, the symbolism of which is the conferring of God’s grace upon the monarch.

The king will return to the Coronation Chair and be presented with royal artefacts such as the royal orb and the sceptre. The archbishop will then place the St Edward’s Crown on the king’s head.

During the enthronement,  the king will leave the Coronation Chair and move to the throne. Camila will then be anointed.
After the service, at 1pm local time (12:00 GMT), the king and queen consort will return to Buckingham Palace in what is referred to as the Coronation Procession. On the return journey, they will be riding in the Gold State Coach, drawn by eight Windsor Grey horses. The Gold State Coach has been used for every coronation since the 1800s.

The king will then greet crowds in The Mall from the Buckingham Palace balcony.

Radhika Iyer is London
Correspondent of NDTV.
Courtesy: NDTV

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