Queen Elizabeth II is still out of commission due to “episodic mobility issues” and unfortunately missed out on attending the official State Opening of Parliament, so Prince Charles took her place and delivered the opening for the first time. Seated on a golden, jewel-encrusted throne next to a jewel-encrusted crown on a velvet pillow, Charles gave a speech promising that the nation of England’s priority is to “help ease the cost of living for families” and help struggling people “level up.”
The imagery of pomp and circumstance, in the aftermath of a deadly global pandemic, hilariously illustrates the ongoing tone-deafness of the British monarchy. The jeweled crown to Charles’ right arrived in its own vehicle, with its own entourage—a white-gloved man carried it in on a plush pillow. Charles is decked out in royal formalwear, seated in a gold room on a gold chair looking bored as hell. The “Queen’s Speech” was supposed to solemnly call attention the real-life struggles of the British people amid soaring inflation—but how can you pay attention to anything the future King of England has to say about the plight of disadvantaged people when he’s literally dripping in gold?
The glittering display of opulence and power, especially against the backdrop of a institution that has amassed historical atrocities by invading territories and poaching their resources, is probably not a good look in these times of uncertainty and societal upheaval gripping most of the world.
Perhaps King Charles need to fire his entire communications team and replace them with people who understand the notion of “bad optics.” Perhaps he should consider ways to actually help struggling people, rather than just telling them to “level up.” Or perhaps the British monarchy is just an outdated institution that will eventually fade away in due time. Regardless, this whole thing looked to me like a Monty Python skit.