Is the indifference of the British for the coronation of Charles feigned?

Elton John, yet long associated with the British monarchy, declined the invitation. Harry Styles, Adele, the Spice Girls would also have let it be known that they are not available to perform at the concert organized on Sunday at Windsor Castle to celebrate the coronation of King Charles III.

It is not only among the artists that the event fails to arouse enthusiasm. The Canadian government, the second most populous country in the Commonwealth, was slow to announce the program of festivities on its soil. In Australia, people wonder more and more openly if the future is not the republic.

At first glance, in the United Kingdom, the enthusiasm is hardly more shared. In the streets of London on Thursday, only the shops are decked out. No or few flags on apartment windows. Poll after poll, the British declare their indifference to the event, even believe that they should not pay for the three days of festivities. 51% of them believe that the government should not finance the coronation, according to a survey YouGov performed on April 18. The percentage rises to 64% among Labor supporters and 58% in Scotland, a land where support for the monarchy traditionally fluctuates.

“Should we pay for the King’s Day?” »

The question of financing is debated even in the councils, those local authorities responsible for the administration of daily life. “Should we pay for the King’s Day?” », wondered in February on Southern reporter, a newspaper in the south of Scotland. In question, a grant of 50,000 pounds (56,700 euros) to help Scots who want to organize street parties. On coronation weekend, all Britons are invited to organize street parties, often in the form of a banquet.

A traditional way of celebrating a royal event, but whose partly public funding is going badly in some places. In this region of Scotland, the council Conservative announced in February its intention to help local communities organize these parties. “People may choose to celebrate the King’s coronation in May but at a time when people are struggling to heat their homes and put food on the table due to the cost of living crisis, we don’t think not that it is right to use public money in this way”, had explained in February to the Southern reporter Fay Sinclair, a local member of the Scottish national party. Thirty communities in this region finally received grants ranging from 200 to 500 pounds.

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“This (proclaimed) indifference is completely normal”

Even the rain is announced to play spoilsport on Saturday. So, will the British shun the event? Despite what they tell pollsters, they might just enjoy the party anyway. A large majority of councils allowed parties to be held and even provided small grants to help with supplies.

“This (proclaimed) indifference is completely normal. It was found before the Queen’s Jubilees, before the Olympic Games, reminds 20 minutes Dr. Sean Lang, lecturer in history at Anglia Ruskin University. It’s part of being British to be a bit cynical. »

Distrust of the monarchy is not new, it already existed at the time of Queen Victoria, in the 19th century, recalls the historian. “Even in 1977, it was the same thing, we criticized the jubilee (to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II) and finally it was a success. In 2002, five years after Diana’s death, for the golden jubilee, it’s unheard of, no one would have predicted the success there was. »

THE TimesWho asks himself if the United Kingdom would not be a nation “of royalists in secret”, recalls it: the funeral of the queen in September brought together more television viewers than the opening ceremony of the London Olympics in 2012. “The family royal is our great national soap opera, ”underlines the conservative daily.

“What strikes me is how Charles and his wife, Camilla, have regained a lot of affection among the people, continues Sean Lang. In September, when he was acclaimed King, I myself was surprised at how much interest there was. In my opinion, the monarchy always has the ability to surprise. Answer this weekend.

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