UMBRELLAOn a drizzly June day in 1953, Elizabeth, the young princess who had become Queen a year earlier, appeared on the world’s television screens. Her coronation was a major milestone for small-screen audiences – the second only world event to be broadcast internationally – and, unbelievably, resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of machines. television in the UK. Almost overnight, we’ve become a nation of eyeglass box-obsessed people. And it’s all thanks to the Queen. Now, on a drizzly May day in 2023, her son, Charles III, must shed his ponytail before a world with access to more splendor.
While the Queen’s trip to Westminster Abbey is broadcast only via the BBC (after all, ITV didn’t exist until 1955), today’s ceremony is broadcast on terrestrial channels (only Channel 4 is available) broadcast and show Johnny English strikes again instead) and through international broadcasters from CBS in the United States to Das Erste in Germany. Like last year’s Queen’s funeral, splendor is inevitable.
During construction, the BBC gave commenting rights to Clare Balding, a multi-subscribe presenter who seamlessly talks about the women in wait as synchronized swimmers (despite the storm). The downpour of the Mall may have temporarily erased that distinction). Julie Etchingham and Tom Bradby, who have been given various royal duties over the past year, have led ITV’s team. The third channel also sent Charlene White to reunite with Ant and Dec (the new King’s distinguished guests), whom she last saw on set. I am a famous person. This is almost like having one of the two broadcasters give in to the youth. During the BBC’s early morning shift, Kirsty Young sat down with a host of Boomer celebrities, from Giles Brandreth to Craig Revel Horwood, through Sanjeev Bhaskar and David Harewood.
The sky gave way to Kay Burley, who brought a wild eye to match sleep-deprived haunts on the road to the Abbey. Talking heads like Anthony Seldon and Alastair Bruce made Sky’s newscast less bleak, more journalistic, but on a sexier side, they drew Joanna Lumley, wearing one of her fancy hats. the coolest in SW1, to give her some fun angles. Of the broadcasters, perhaps the most enduring feat was provided by GB News, which moved to the Palace to cover the proceedings throughout the night.
After the coronation began in earnest, the centralized broadcast feed took over. This is roughly divided into three parts: the arrival of the dignitaries, the procession of the King and Queen, and the ceremony. In the first of these, Huw Edwards in his pomp (and the BBC too) points out heads of state, politicians and celebrities to the public. Nick Cave, Katy Perry, Emma Thompson, Lionel Richie: the dreary line of bureaucrats occasionally littered with stardust.
The camera has avoided more erotic pictures of Prince Harry or his uncle, Andrew, in order to return, again and again, to Prince George (now second in line to the throne). As the lengthy ceremony dragged on, the nine-year-old looked increasingly tired. So does poor Penny Mordaunt, whose brave sword-carrying ability will captivate audiences and inspire several gym subscription renewals.
During the ceremony, the covering becomes more reverent. The glasses-wearing Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, lacks the solemnity of his predecessor (or Huw Edwards). He’s not the host that global broadcast networks would choose (on paper, the performance has Rylan’s name written on it), but with superstars like Bryn Terfel, Roderick Williams, The Bronze Cast Byzantine singers and gospel singers of the Ascension Choir contributed to the proceedings, with enough television traction to go around.
During the first hour, Edwards rarely interjects, though explanatory captions sometimes distract from the service’s solemn mysteries. Does the public really need a pop-up telling them a song, which says “Zadok the Priest!” immediately belted, called “Zadok the Priest”? But for all the capacity provided by the auxiliary performers and an assemblage of ceremonial performers, the eyes are always on the new King and Queen. Charles, a character of resolute sanity, his characteristic grimace; Camilla, posing as the best mother-in-law, is drawn to messing with her hair.
In essence, the coronation is a religious ceremony; one of the few shows to be broadcast on British television (and possibly the only one to be featured on Sky News). But that’s what the BBC does really well: from Carols at King’s to Songs of Praise, the corporation’s regulations for its missing Anglican audience are well oriented. The need to leave the floor of Westminster Abbey open for the ceremony ensured that the King, the Archbishop and other major figures were almost exclusively shot from above. Cameras were mounted on the rafters of the nave, peering over the ceremony like an aerial view of a football match. For all the new inclusivity of the ceremony (the commentators did not draw attention to “people of all faiths”, though tabloid journalists certainly would) the scene of a person A 74-year-old man kissing a Bible has a very traditional feel.
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Like all news about events related to the Commonwealth, there is a natural tension between the celebration of nations recognizing Charles as king and the recognition that the British Empire is no longer a state. orthodox object of reverence. For the first time, however, these worries have largely been put aside. For all the debates that have rocked the National Trust, British Museum, Tate, universities and most cultural institutions over the past few years, the coronation has been largely devoid of introspection. . Perhaps the BBC, ITV and Sky feel liberated from the obligation to appeal to a younger demographic. This is the broadcast that embraces its natural conservatism.
All the channels that covered the events of the day mentioned the years – nearly 70 of them – that Charles had to prepare for this day. Not only Charles has for decades dreamed of participating in legal proceedings. The Church of England, the custodians of Westminster Abbey, and importantly the broadcasters have had a lifetime to get ready. The striking image of the King with his glittering sword in his hand, dressed in a golden kimono with a giant crown on his head, may not have the historical weight of images from 1953, but the animation is played out. waves will live long in the public memory. For all the premature obituaries for the monarchy, this marathon broadcast is like a reassertion, rather than a refutation, of British tradition.