Prime The Pomp

It is Britain’s time to shine — and with 530-carat diamonds, gold orbs bearing emeralds and rubies, and no fewer than three jewel-encrusted crowns on display, we mean that literally. Charles’s coronation, writes Simon De Burton, will be a show for the ages.
Queen Elizabeth II in the supertunica, wearing St. Edward’s crown, and holding the two sceptres.

There are times when even the most committed of rakes and the most dedicated of dandies wake in the morning and cannot face dressing up. Let’s hope King Charles isn’t overcome with sartorial ennui when he rises from the regal bed on the morning of May 6, the day Britain will surely show the world the true meaning of pomp and circumstance. Our parliament may be feeble, our borders may be porous, and our health service may be ailing, but when it comes to pageantry and tradition, nobody does it better than the (not always) United Kingdom. As the focus of the event, the King will be expected to push the boat out in the costumes and regalia department, even if he has pledged to make his coronation a more modern affair — with a mere 2,000 guests, as opposed to the 8,251 who attended the crowning of his mother 70 years ago. Part of that modern approach will involve ditching the silk stockings and breeches worn by past kings of England in favour of full military dress, though even that will appear reserved in relation to the extreme ‘layering’ that will occur during the ceremony’s multiple costume changes.


Simon de Burton


April 2023


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