'Not my King' to 'It's our history, too!': Canadians divided on value of King Charles' coronation, monarchy for future
Many Canadians want a break from the Commonwealth and the monarchy, citing a lack of relevance to modern Canada
King Charles III and wife Queen Camilla were crowned in a ceremony steeped with pomp and pageantry at Westminster Abbey in London on Saturday.
Shouts of "God Save the King" and trumpet fanfare echoed across the Abbey, spilling out into London's streets as the Archbishop of Canterbury lowered St. Edward's Crown onto the King's head.
Following the coronation, the King and Queen, followed by other members of the family, returned to Buckingham Palace in a grand procession, cheered on by crowds of people gathered from all corners of the British Commonwealth.
While members of the public braved overcast skies and rain to catch a glimpse of the newly-crowned monarch, storm clouds are brewing as Commonwealth members reconsider ties to the monarchy and U.K. taxpayers decry the cost of the coronation amid a cost of living crisis.
One of the promises the King made ahead of his coronation was that of a "slimmed down" ceremony in an effort to cut costs, but many U.K. taxpayers say they are reaching into already-empty pockets to foot the estimated $125 million event. This is roughly double the cost of Queen Elizabeth II's coronation 70 years earlier.
Cost of coronation too high to swallow, taxpayers say
As cameras panned over the crowd, protesters were spotted waving banners with "abolish the monarchy" and "not my king" printed on them.
With King Charles's net worth estimated to be around $2.3 billion, taxpayers wonder why the family is simply not chipping in to cover some of the costs associated with the coronation.
Arrests begin across London of those seeking a republic in Britain.#Coronation #Coronation2023 pic.twitter.com/sOyWs7ypiL
— Afshin Rattansi (@afshinrattansi) May 6, 2023
While royal revelers far outnumbered the protesters in the London streets on coronation day, an increasing number of U.K. citizens are growing restless with the monarchy and the costs associated with their maintenance.
Not this past year it's not, the obscene costs of Queenie's funeral and the disgraceful cost, during the cost of living crisis, of Charlie's Coronation should have been paid out of their own pockets. #NotMyKing #NotMyQueen
— Brian Feeney (@Jagsfan1876otig) May 6, 2023
The coronation costing £250 million while we are in a cost of living crisis and people are unable to heat their houses or feed their family does not set well with me, and I cannot lie about it #Coronation
— heidi on harry’s bookshelf 🌻 (@heidiandherbook) May 6, 2023
Canadians have frosty response to coronation
Efforts have been raised in recent years to denounce colonialism, with many countries across the globe debating their future as remaining members of the British Commonwealth. Barbados was the latest country seeking independence, and removed Queen Elizabeth II as head of state during 2021.
The coronation of King Charles and Queen Camilla is also seeing a rather frosty response in Canada, as recent polling conducted by Abacus Data just days before indicates only four per cent of Canadians will be following King Charles III's coronation "very closely." A recent poll on @CanadianPolling also revealed that Canadians are at the top of a list of nations who believe there's no place for a monarchy.
Canadians also at the top of Commonwealth nations that think there's no place for the monarchy today pic.twitter.com/ldOSEQKCTw
— Polling Canada (@CanadianPolling) May 6, 2023
When asked whether Canada should continue to have a monarch as its head of state, 12 per cent definitely feel it should, while more than double the number feel it definitely shouldn't. The sentiment after the coronation echoed a similar sentiment, with many suggesting Canada's head of state should be Canadian. Others were bothered by the colonial links still ever-present in the coronation ceremony.
We should not celebrate, we should remove ourselves from the commonwealth.
— Patrice Poirier 💜 (@PatriceMPoirier) May 6, 2023
Not my King.
The Australian Prime Minister “voted in a failed referendum in 1999 for an Australian citizen to replace the British monarch as the country’s head of state” and still desires this change - and so should Canada.https://t.co/gIWnGXwD5O
— Raghu Venugopal MD (@raghu_venugopal) May 5, 2023
Anyone else bothered by symbolic aspects of todays Coronation? Things which disturbed me: overt symbols of Colonialism and world domination (the Orb, the Golden Carriage created as a celebration piece to mark the successful colonization of Canada)
— I Draw2 (@wellfocused) May 6, 2023
The British established many countries, and over half of those don’t retain any of the monarchy or west minster. Outdated system. Canada is not British. A native Canadian should be our head of state. It’s eventually going to happen. The crown is a representation of subjection.
— LibertarianCanuck (@Lib_Canuk) May 6, 2023
100% agreed. I think we definitely DO need an independent, non-political head of state. I'd worry about what COULD happen without one.
But the question for me is still: does the British Monarchy represent the best (and only) model for Canada in the 21st century? I'm not sure. https://t.co/0XYAB6zYnE
— Todd Hirsch (@theToddHirsch) May 6, 2023
It gives us an ability to distance ourselves from political bias which is so evident in American culture. I like the successive GGs abilities to introduce/feature different aspects of Canadian culture.
— Laurel 💙🇨🇦🏴🇮🇪🇸🇪🇵🇱🇫🇷☘️☘️🎼 (@LaurelNelsonH) May 6, 2023
For what it’s worth, I thought the coronation was very nice. But there is a difference between being able to enjoy the pageantry of a foreign country honoring its history and wanting hereditary birthright enshrined in your own constitution.
— J.J. McCullough 🥶 (@JJ_McCullough) May 6, 2023
Despite cooling Canadian views, celebrations across country
While relations between Canada and the monarchy may be cooling, the pageantry was evident at celebrations held across the country to mark the historical event — the largest being held in the nation's capital.
A pleasure to attend the coronation ceremony in Ottawa for King Charles III who officially begins His reign as King of Canada. On behalf of the residents of Vaughan-Woodbridge, God’s blessings to King Charles III - Long Live the King. #Coronation #cdnpoli #cdncrown pic.twitter.com/IC1IN4DLzx
— Francesco Sorbara (@fsorbara) May 6, 2023
"We need to give him a chance to show us that he is a good leader," Canadian Gov. Gen. Mary Simon said in a statement.
Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc offered a statement on behalf of the Government of Canada saying "Today we will witness an event steeped in the traditions dating back to the Middle Ages. But tradition is not an impediment to modernity. By looking to the past, we can better understand our present and witness how we have progressed as a nation."
Some Canadians online also referenced the importance of marking Canada's historic links to the monarchy.
It’s our history too! How can that be so hard to understand? Canada (at least the English speaking part of it) was literally founded by Loyalists who wished to remain subjects of the Crown.
— Edward Anon, Esq. 🇨🇦🇬🇧 (@EdwardianStoic) May 6, 2023
The federal government also used this opportunity to announce how the coronation would chance our current currency, as marked by tradition. The Royal Canadian Mint will begin embedding an effigy of His Majesty King Charles III on Canadian circulation coins, and the Bank of Canada saying his face will appear on the new $20 bill.
There were several Canadian aspects present at the coronation in London, the most markedly being the Royal Canadian Mounted Police on horseback, leading the royal procession.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the ‘Mounties,’ lead the #Coronation procession in London from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace following the Crowning of Canada’s new king, King Charles III. 👑🐴🇨🇦#cdnpoli #cdncrown #RCMP pic.twitter.com/ucmSmY8ITp
— Canadian Crown 🇨🇦 (@Canadian_Crown) May 6, 2023
We are proud to help celebrate HM King Charles III’s coronation. We recently flew Noble, an RCMP horse gifted to the King ahead of today’s ceremony. Long live the King.https://t.co/sD3MW3jDe2 pic.twitter.com/b59KOUYLpW
— Air Canada (@AirCanada) May 6, 2023
Simon, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and several Indigenous leaders flew to London to partake in the coronation festivities.
Today, we celebrated the Coronation of King Charles III and reaffirmed Canada’s enduring commitment to the Commonwealth. Find out how we’re marking this historic occasion – with the new Royal Crown, Royal Flag, Canadian stamp, collector coins, and more: https://t.co/Xf30B46uEt
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) May 6, 2023