Coronation photo of Charles and Camilla

May 2023: the biggest controversies of Charles and Camilla’s coronation

As the year draws to an end, memories of May inevitably surround one of Britain’s largest events of the year: the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla. 

Whether you loved or hated it, there is no doubt that the May 6 ceremony was met with no small amount of contention.

Read on for the most notable controversies associated with the coronation.

1. Camilla’s title

The crowning of Camilla as queen consort was a controversial decision which divided Britain well before the coronation itself.

Whilst she was originally slated to be titled “HRH The Princess Consort” upon Charles’ ascension to the throne, Queen Elizabeth revised this in her Platinum Jubilee message.

In line with the Queen’s wishes, Camilla was confirmed to be titled Queen Consort after Queen Elizabeth’s death.

The decision was met with no small amount of protestation from die-hard supporters of the late Princess Diana, who felt this was disrespectful to her legacy.

2. The cost

You know what a controversial institution struggling to relate to the masses needs?

A massive state ceremony with a £50-100million price tag taking place during a cost of living crisis.

Though the event was predicted to bring more money into the economy than it cost, many people were still unhappy with a portion of the bill being footed by the taxpayer.

One pensioner told the BBC: “We’re struggling for heating and eating and they’re splashing all this money out.

“It is a lot of money to pay out and I think, in this day and age, they need to do it on a low budget.”

3. The guest list

Rumours swirled ahead of the event about the attendance of various royal family members, though perhaps none more than Prince Andrew and Prince Harry.

If you’re wondering why these two are being spoken as if they bring equal amounts of shame to the royal family, it’s because that’s essentially how the narrative went.

As it turned out, both Prince Andrew, who was infamously stripped of his royal honours following his association with infamous paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, and Prince Harry, who moved to California, attended the event in support of Charles, despite rumours asserting one or both would be absent. 

4. Arrests on the day

A whopping 64 people were arrested by Met Police on the day of the coronation, 52 of which were made for offences such as affray, public order offences, breach of the peace and conspiracy to cause a public nuisance around the coronation.

The arrests led to a mere five people being charged, although many were held for over 10 hours as the coronation continued free from chants of “Not my king!”

The police later expressed regret over the arrests, which Graham Smith, the chief executive of the anti-monarchy protest group Republic, described as an attack on the UK’s protest protections. 

5. Queen Mary’s 1911 Coronation headpiece

The Koh-i-noor jewel, the centrepiece of Queen Mary’s 1911 Coronation headpiece, was absent from the coronation, removed and stored away at the Tower of London.

Speculation ahead of the ceremony surrounded whether the controversial jewel would be worn, as it was seized by the East India Company in 1849 and India has since asked for its return, saying it is entrenched in Britain’s colonial past.

The Palace seemingly responded by tucking the jewel out of sight and hoping for the best.

Featured image credit: Katie Chan, CC BY-SA 3.0 license, via Wikimedia Commons

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