Royalty, pomp and 500 portable loos

London is filling up with ultra keen, extreme royalists, hundreds of whom are already sitting in their uncomfortable picnic chairs, lining the Mall and trying to keep warm. Some arrived on Tuesday, so by the time they get a fleeting glimpse of the royal coach through the grey drizzle, they will have been in situ for 4 days and nights. I was going to say ‘Only the British would be so daft’ but I’ve just seen a video clip of the King walking among the crowd and talking to people from America, Australia and Bangkok. Daftness is not, it seems, exclusive to Brits. My London pal walked down the Mall and saw TV teams from all over the world, including that bastion of Communism, China!

Surely after four days they must all be a bit grimy and stiff and bored? Surely? And there’s the problem of erm… waste products. I wonder if the nearby restrooms in shops and hotels are open to these thousands of people? I doubt it. Then I read that there are over 500 portable loos in place. Wouldn’t you want to be the owner of that business? First we had the Queen’s funeral, and now the Coronation … what a little gold mine! There’s gold in….

But dragging my mind away from scatology: I have a deep affection for Charles – he’s my age and he’s been waiting all his life to fulfil his destiny. He’s an OK bloke, I reckon, about as perfect as I am and just as flawed. He’s honoured his mother’s determination that she would never retire, respecting her commitment to a life of service. Now that she’s gone, he’s taken up the mantle with grace and an unexpected lightness and warmth. He’s plumb bang in the middle of, and leading, a huge dysfunctional family and he does so without whining or telling tales or writing books. He is gracious towards his sons and even when one of them behaves like a petulant three year old with a weak grasp of his own personal history, he keeps the door open to him.

I have all the qualifications to make me a royalist; I have an MBE, handed to me by his mother, and I’ve served in the Armed Forces, as did my father and brothers, and I would rather have him and his lot than any president. So, will I swear allegiance to him?

Not bloody likely.

The suggested oath is a nonsense – “I swear that I will pay true allegiance to Your Majesty and to your heirs and successors according to law. So help me God. God save King Charles. May the King live forever.”

Firstly, there is no law about swearing allegiance, secondly successors can be stripped of their succession at the stroke of a pen, thirdly the Bible tells us not to make oaths and certainly not to swear by God, and finally – guess what folks – he ain’t going to live forever!

And anyway, I am not a serf.

So there. But I wish him well. I hope that the day is a glorious celebration, that the rain holds off, and that he is a happy and fulfilled man at the end of it. That’s what my prayers will be for him and for his wife and for all the people who are camping out. I hope that William and Harry keep their claws away from each other’s throats and manage to speak to each other. But most of all I hope that Charles is a happy man all day long and into the night.

I’ll be watching from the comfort of my sitting room, and yes – when the ritual is at its height and he goes out of the public gaze to commit his reign to God – I will pray with him.

But I’m not bending the knee. I save that for the King of Kings.

The photos are nicked from The Times. So send me to The Tower.

** Update: the words have now been changed. Instead of the I swear allegiance’ nonsense the phrase will now read “I now invite those who wish to offer their support to do so, with a moment of private reflection, ” which is a bit more sensible but they still end with the unlikely hope that the King will live for ever.

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