The coronation, a centuries-old tradition steeped in British history, has always been a significant event for the country. As the UK prepares for King Charles III’s first official day in the job, it also anticipates the dawn of a new era with a mix of excitement and curiosity.
“This historic event is not only a celebration of the UK’s rich heritage but also a catalyst for change and discussion across various aspects of society,” says Nicholas Jervis, founder of SolicitorsNearMe.com, which recently released a report looking at the coronation’s multifaceted impact – a guide to help individuals, businesses and legal professionals better prepare for the opportunities and challenges that may arise.
More specifically, the report delves into the legal, social, cultural, economic and political aspects of this historic event. Here are the key takeaways.
In terms of judicial implications, King Charles’ coronation brings attention to the legal aspects of the monarchy, including its constitutional role, property law and employment law. The event may spark discussions about the future of the monarchy, its legal standing and the rights of those involved in the ceremony.
Barbados’s decision in 2022 to remove Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state shows how the monarchy’s legacy is a fragile being, something that cannot be taken for granted. King Charles III has enormous shoes to fill and he must fill them while simultaneously distancing the monarchy from its dark past in more obvious ways than ever before. The UK’s younger generation is demanding it, as are an ever-growing number of Commonwealth countries (with Belize the latest to add its name to the list threatening to leave the Commonwealth).
In terms of the social and cultural significance of the coronation, the ceremony will serve as a largely unifying event for the nation, fostering a sense of national identity, pride and continuity. It also highlights the UK’s rich cultural heritage and history, celebrating centuries-old customs and traditions. Conversely, the coronation will also spark conversations about the dark sides of monarchy’s history, its links to classism and colonialism.
In short, the coronation will catalyse renewed debates about the role of the monarchy in modern British society, its relevance, and the balance of power between the Crown and the government. These discussions could lead to potential changes or reaffirmation of the monarchy’s role within the UK’s political landscape. It very much depends on how King Charles assumes and oversees his new role.
The cost of the coronation (and King Charles)
Amid a cost of living crisis, the awkwardly high financial cost of the coronation (some £100m) has already turned heads. On the other hand, the event is expected to stimulate the UK economy to some degree through increased tourism, short-term rentals and the sale of commemorative merchandise. This economic boost could benefit local businesses, the hospitality industry and even the job market, with temporary employment opportunities created in areas such as event management, security and retail. Meanwhile, in the longer term, the monarchy brings some £1.7bn a year to the UK (in recent years, at least), something that is unlikely to change significantly under King Charles’ reign.
In terms of global soft power, the coronation is a highly prominent international event that will draw attention from the global community, reinforcing the UK’s position as a notable player on the world stage. It may also present an opportunity for the country to strengthen diplomatic ties and foster international collaboration.
“It is important to note that the UK is a constitutional monarchy, which means that the king’s powers are limited by the constitution and the principle of parliamentary sovereignty,” says Jervis. “Consequently, the coronation does not grant the king unlimited power but rather acknowledges the constitutional role of the monarch within the legal framework of the country.”
King Charles’ coronation is a significant legal and ceremonial event that reaffirms the new monarch’s commitment to his constitutional duties and responsibilities. How he takes on these new duties and responsibilities will, simply put, determine the monarchy’s multi-pronged impact across the UK and beyond, not to mention its institutional survival.