Scandals cloud King Charles’ coronation, rich in Christian tradition; Biden a no-show

by WorldTribune Staff, May 5, 2023

The Coronation of King Charles III is “profoundly Christian,” as London Cardinal Vincent Nichols put it.

The opening words at Saturday’s event in Westminster Abbey will see a chorister speak first, saying: “Your Majesty, as children of the Kingdom of God we welcome you in the name of the King of Kings.” King Charles replies: “In his name, and after his example, I come not to be served but to serve.”

The ceremony that follows the coronation, Nichols said, is “Christian in every sentiment and action, combining history with innovation, action with word, music with silent prayer.”

King Charles III

It also comes with something that was not present at the last coronation, that of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 — scandal.

King Charles and his wife, Camilla, are both divorcees, something that, royals watchers say, would not have been permitted under Church of England rules in earlier years.

Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales, divorced in 1996 after four years of separation. She was killed in a car crash the following year.

Camilla Parker Bowles, who married the then-Prince of Wales in 2005, divorced her husband, Andrew Parker Bowles, in 1995. She and Charles had an affair during his marriage to Diana.

“Camilla was criticized in the early years of the marriage — Harry, reportedly, is not a fan — but public opinion has shifted in her favor. Her late mother-in-law expressed the hope that Camilla would be accepted as Queen Consort,” Mark A. Kellner wrote for The Washington Times.

The there is Prince Andrew, the Duke of York and King Charles’s younger brother, who has been racked by allegations of sexual abuse related to his long association with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and his confidant, the British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, who was found guilty of child sex trafficking in 2021.

In 2022, Queen Elizabeth stripped Andrew of his dozen military titles and more than 100 patronages. As a result, Andrew can no longer use “His Royal Highness” in any capacity, a royal source told NBC News.

Andrew, 63, has also been marred by his alleged associations with Middle Eastern dictators and corrupt leaders, and by accusations that he was part of a “cash for access” scam with his former wife, Sarah Ferguson.

Charles’s ability to keep a tight lid on his younger brother is essential if he wishes to maintain the respect of the British public, .

“Andrew is a disaster,” David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, a London-based consulting firm, said. “For years, he’s had a reputation as a playboy and a very entitled guy. King Charles has done the right thing by freezing him out.”

Another source of controversy in the royal family in recent years is Prince Harry, Charles’ youngest son, and his wife Meghan Markle.

Harry and Meghan stepped down as working royals on Jan. 8, 2020.

The couple, now relocated to California, has given a series of interviews in which they’ve explained their move and taken aim at the monarchy and the country’s tabloid press. Harry, 38, also published a tell-all memoir, “Spare,” in which he claimed his older brother, Prince William, physically attacked him, alleging too that members of the royal family were cold, out-of-touch and exhibited “unconscious bias.”

In a March 7, 2021 interview with media mogul Oprah Winfrey, Meghan said that in the months leading up to their son Archie’s birth, a royal insider expressed “concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born.”

A rare comment responding to the furor released on behalf of the queen was released two days later on March 9: “The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan. The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. Whilst some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately.”

On March 11, Prince William answered a reporter’s question during a school visit in London by saying, “We are very much not a racist family.”

With a vast worldwide audience expected to tune in to watch, Harry, now fifth in line for the throne behind his brother and William’s three children, will not participate in the coronation ceremony. Nor will Andrew.

Camilla will receive a crown and anointing during the service. Her title will be queen, as it was for Charles’ grandmother, who became Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother on the death of her husband, King George VI, in 1952.

Royalty from other nations will also be on hand. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain are on the guest list, as are the kings of Belgium, Bhutan, Thailand, the Netherlands and the former Greek royal Queen Anne-Marie. Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene of Monaco and Japanese Crown Prince Akishino and Crown Princess Kiko will join royalty from Norway, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Denmark and other nations at the ceremony.

Jill Biden will represent the United States. Former President Donald Trump, who said he had a “great relationship” with Queen Elizabeth II, noted that Joe Biden would not be at the coronation, likely because he “wants to sleep.”

The archives of Lambeth Palace are believed to hold records of the coronations of kings and queens reaching back to the eleventh century.

Cardinal Nichols noted: “There are four consistent elements to these coronations: the anointing of the monarch, the crowning, the giving of the sword of justice and the reception of Communion. All these elements are present at this Coronation, embellished by many other traditional actions including the handing over of the Orb and Sceptre and other items of regalia. This is a ceremony expressive of the richness of tradition and therefore of continuity and stability.”

Nichols added: “The history of these lands is profoundly marked by our religious history. Until the sixteenth century, the coronation was Catholic. For the last four hundred years it has been a service of the Church of England and it remains so. But this time many aspects of the event reflect and strengthen the utterly changed relationships between our two churches.

“Anyone watching will be in no doubt that Christian faith and hope are in the foundations of our life.”

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