I pay attention to the British royal family. I’ve watched the weddings of Charles and Diana, William and Kate, and Harry and Meghan. And yes, this Saturday at 5:00 a.m. I’ll be sipping tea as Westminster Abbey fills with guests to celebrate the coronation of King Charles III.

I’m not alone in following this family’s dramatic, multi-generational story. How many of you have watched The Crown?

Ever since Prince Harry’s bombshell memoir Spare was published in January, there’s been a question as to whether he’ll make the journey from California to London for the big day. Now we know he’s coming – alone. Meghan will remain in the US with one-year old Princess Lilibet and Prince Archie, who turns 4 on the day of the coronation. What’s unknown is whether Harry will make the front row of the seating plan.

And there’s the larger, historical legacy of the monarchy, featuring colonialism and patriarchy and racism. And yet, part of me still wishes kings and queens could be everything we hope they might be. Last fall I joined the world in watching Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral. When I witness Charles III’s coronation it will be with a bittersweet longing, because I wish it could live up to its fairy tale aspiration.

That longing is as ancient as the Biblical story. When the congregation at Westminster Abbey shouts “Long live the king!” they will echo what the Israelites uttered when Saul was presented to them (1 Samuel 10:24). The people wanted a king until they got one. We long for “on earth as it is in heaven.” It’s just so hard to pull off. The coronation raises centuries-old questions about power and the church’s relationship to it.

For many of us, this will be the first coronation of our lifetimes. I invite you to set your alarm for Saturday morning. Brew a pot of tea. Sit back and take in Operation Golden Orb. Learn about the Stone of Destiny and see the Crown Jewels sparkle.

How do you relate to the Coronation?


-Written by Rev. Ann Palmerton

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  1. Jeff Beam May 4, 2023 at 10:21 am - Reply

    “The people wanted a king until they got one. We long for ‘on earth as it is in heaven.’ It’s just so hard to pull off.” That is profound wisdom — one of those observations that immediately feels obvious and explanatory. It will stick with me for a while. Thank you Ann.

  2. Libby Wetherholt May 4, 2023 at 10:53 am - Reply

    Ann – I didn’t know you were also a follower. Although this is, in reality, my second coronation, I was only one for Elizabeth II’s coronation. I was born about a month after George VI’s death. My brother maintains that i was named for the new queen, although my mother never said that. At any rate that is my reason for being a follower of the royal family, as well as being half Welsh. I love your connection to the people of Israel and their need for a king. Do you suppose also that they desired a king so that they would have someone to tell them what to do and not have to make their own decisions?

  3. Bock May 4, 2023 at 2:41 pm - Reply

    I remember at school watching his mom get crowned and having to learn a four syllable word (coronation). I don’t recall being much impressed. It was just a bunch of adults walking into a big room and sitting down and saying lots of stuff that I really didn’t understand. Miss Krieder, my teacher, seemed to be very interested. Of course, she was really, really old. All her hair was gray and white. Anyway, that is only time I remember getting to watch television in Miss Krieder’s class.

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