The sad spectacle of Charles III’s coronation is underway. All the forced-seeming celebrations, demands for loyalty pledges and weird dog-shaped cakes at Waitrose make a grim contrast with the spontaneous warmth and pleasure that seemed to spread over the earth on the occasion of Charles’s first marriage, on a fine summer morning forty-odd years ago, to a shy, gentle and very young woman, a girl almost.
The ghost of the Queen Diana that might have been hovers over the current proceedings, together with a diminished faith in the possibility, so vivid-seeming then, of a world that still might find its way; the wedding seemed to symbolize not only the beginnings of a new British royal family, one that could be filled with grace, charm, and dignity, but the possibility of a whole fairy-tale world to go with the real-life prince and princess, a world of increasing safety and plenty for everyone, managed with intelligence and compassion; fairer, kinder and more peaceful. Who could have guessed back then that what was really coming was a hellish brew of indescribably sordid calamities, crowned with the trending hashtag, #NotMyKing?
Images like this week’s Private Eye cover are an acknowledgement of those ruined hopes; they are a demand for something better. All over the world, this week, social media and independent media have been bursting with the same observations.
In honor of the event, here’s a selection of Popula pieces about the United Kingdom; stories of possibilities lost, and of those that are still within our imagination.
The Death of Diana Spencer by Henry Wismayer
Death and the Queen’s Horsemen by Olaoluwa Oni
[dis]Order! by Penny Andrews
The Tell-Tale Heart of the Millennium Dome by Aisling McCrea
You could argue that the British Empire was an infestation by destructive organisms by Tom Scocca
My Last Pint at the Wally Dug by Conor Riordan
I knew the rules by John Handel
Alan Partridge and the Backstop by Penny Andrews
Deer Prudence by Jack Yates
The Street: or, how I learned to start worrying about Corrie and listen to Mordecai Richler by Erin MacLeod
Wot’s a Gammon Then by Oliver Corlett
Bonfire Night by Usman Ahmad
We lingered at the table until our pants were mostly dry by Corbin Dewitt
When Things Could Only Get Better by Charlotte Lydia Riley