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The Homage of the People: is swearing allegiance to The King really such a bad idea?

With the Coronation only a few days away, the country is abuzz with speculation about what to expect from this historic event. The last Coronation took place seventy years ago, and much has changed since then. We have been given a tantalising glimpse into what the Procession will look like, what Their Majesties will be wearing, and what the actual Ceremony at Westminster Abbey will entail.

While much of the ceremony has remained unchanged, the Coronation Liturgy has caused a stir. One of the most significant changes is the Homage of the People. In a break with tradition, the Homage of the Peers has been replaced by an Homage of the People. The King will make a solemn oath to serve the United Kingdom and his other Realms and Territories at the very heart of the ceremony. In return, everyone who wishes is invited to swear allegiance and make a pledge to The King. This move toward a “modern and inclusive monarchy” reflects the importance of the public, rather than just the support of Peers, in maintaining the institution. It reaffirms the monarchy’s commitment to the service of the nation and strengthens its role as a unifying force in the country.

As much backlash this introduction has caused, it’s worth noticing that this is just an invitation – not a requirement – meaning that those who wish to are invited to pledge allegiance to The King when he will pledge himself to the service of the nation. 

As a recent British citizen, I understand the importance of pledging allegiance to the Crown. On proudly becoming a British citizen I had to swear allegiance to The King, his successors, and most importantly, to the Crown: the embodiment of democracy and freedom in the history of this country whose guarantor of its democratic and constitutional values is the Sovereign. Swearing loyalty to the monarch during the Coronation helps to establish a sense of continuity and stability in our country’s system. It reinforces our national identity and unity and can be a powerful symbol of the shared values, traditions, and history that unite us. We should be proud of the pomp and pageantry that our country does best, and the Coronation should not be an exception.

The Coronation is an opportunity to celebrate Britain’s history and culture, and pomp and pageantry are a crucial part of that celebration. The majority of us have never witnessed a Coronation in our lifetimes and have only seen it depicted in paintings and history books. Removing certain aspects of the ceremony would diminish its grandeur and significance. That’s why I hope we still see coronets and tiaras and why I feel that a homage is a crucial part of this event.

While some may question the need for a lavish ceremony in the midst of a cost of living crisis, it’s important to remember that the Coronation is a historic moment that transcends individual circumstances. We should not forget the uplifting effect the Coronation had on the country after the devastation of World War II. It brought people together and provided a moment of reflection and celebration. The Coronation is a ceremony that represents the best of Britain, and we should take this opportunity to come together and celebrate our shared heritage and values.

As we look forward to this historic event, one can’t help but wonder what the next reign’s Coronation will look like if we scrapped traditions. The Coronation is not just a relic of the past, but a symbol of our enduring institutions that transcend individual leaders and political parties. It is a moment in which we can come together and celebrate what is best about Britain. It’s a ceremony that should be cherished, and the decision to include the Homage of the People serves as a reminder that the monarchy exists for the people and their democratic and constitutional values.