Did I watch the King's coronation?

David Bullard writes on what he did the day the crown was put on Charles' head


Did I watch the Coronation of King Charles III? Of course I did. Monarchist that I am, I was glued to the TV three hours before the whole show got on the road while the Abbey guests were arriving and being shown to their seats.

Protocol being what it is, there was obviously a pecking order and the lowlier showbiz guests had to arrive much earlier in the day, to be followed by politicians around an hour before and finally members of the royal family which included a rapidly balding Prince Harry on a whistlestop tour.

Rumour has it that he had already booked an Uber back to Heathrow for just after the conclusion of the service.

Poor Harry cut a rather pathetic figure as he entered the abbey in a frock coat with a small cluster of medals and most people appeared not to meet his gaze. He was relegated to the same row in the cheap seats as disgraced sexual predator Uncle Andrew which can’t have been much fun. And, as I commented, a close up of the top of his head reveals that the thinning ginger locks have to be very carefully arranged to cover the emerging scalp.

Whether this is a result of stress is anybody’s guess but since his big brother is also rapidly becoming a ‘chrome dome’ one must assume that it’s genetic which suggests, against all rumours to the contrary, that he may indeed be his father’s son. ___STEADY_PAYWALL___

Among the earlier arrivals were the actor and raconteur Stephen Fry and quite a few folks who must be well into their sixties or seventies bearing in mind the age of the newly crowned King. I’m not sure what the toilet arrangements are in Westminster Abbey but I suspect that they may be rather ancient in keeping with the rest of the building. Even for those without prostate problems the prospect of sitting for more than four hours in a chilly church without a comfort break isn’t something to relish.

One of the weirdest guests to appear on my TV screen was Australian musician Nick Cave, best known for his song ‘Red Right Hand’ which became the theme tune for the popular Netflix series ‘Peaky Blinders’.

One must charitably assume that the song title is no reflection on the monarchy’s long history of curbing uprisings, as dramatised so vividly by the now unfashionable white supremacist, cis gendered playwright Will Shakespeare.

Mr Cave seemed as perplexed to be there as we were to see him there but it appears as though a message went out to the colonies from Buck House asking them to invite a dozen of their best and brightest cultural icons to the shindig, and since Dame Edna had recently departed Mr Cave was next on the list.

One of the great things to swell the bosom of a true Englishman is the sight of various military bands and regiments marching. I was not disappointed and tears of joy came to my eyes as I watched the precision with which the lines of guardsmen marched through Admiralty Arch in perfect formation and step. Panyaza Lesufi and your Crime Prevention unit…you may still have something to learn from your colonial oppressors.

I don’t expect you to agree but when the order ‘by the left, quick march’ is given you have only two choices and if you start with the wrong foot then you look pretty inept. Just saying.

Something else that impressed me enormously was the fact that people can ride a horse and still play a musical instrument. My equestrian skills are nil and in those innocent youthful days when I was into blood sports in the UK I used to follow the Surrey and North Sussex Beagles on foot because I couldn’t ride a horse and participate in a fox hunt.

Beagling was for equinophobes but although we were all on foot we still had the hunt staff smartly attired in green coats and riding hats while hunting horns were also used. Instead of a fox we hunted hares which is a bit like shooting a warthog when you were really looking for a male lion.

But, despite our lowly hunting status compared with the foxhounds and the staghounds in Devon, we still managed all the same pretensions. For example, the hounds are measured in ‘couples’ so 24 doggies looking to kill something on a cold winter morning are described as 12 couple; or 11 and a half couple if one has gone AWOL.

Similarly, hounds don’t bark when the quarry is near…. they ‘speak’. These terms are absolutely essential to remember if you’re not to be shunned at the pub after the hunt. My main reason for taking up beagling, apart from a few hours running through the Surrey and Sussex countryside on a Saturday morning, was the annual Hunt Ball at the Burford Bridge Hotel near Dorking. This would have given any 1970’s rock concert a run for its money when it came to debauchery. Nuff said.

But, back to sitting on a horse and playing a musical instrument. The two huge shire horses (the ones with lots of hair around their hooves) apparently earn the honorary rank of Major when they get the job of lugging a couple of kettle drums around at the head of the Household Cavalry marching band. So it was Major Apollo and Major Atlas that led the parade on Saturday and what a magnificent sight they were.

Standing 17 hands high and weighing as much as a small family car they behaved impeccably. The skill of the rider is to direct the horse without the use of reins while playing a musical instrument with both hands and, judging by the results, the hours of training for both rider and animal paid off handsomely. It was a display of pomp and pageantry unmatched anywhere else in the world.

I swung by my local shopping centre early on Saturday morning to pick up some groceries and wandered into ‘Frozen for You’ where I found Coronation Chicken. By the time the chicken had thawed and I’d pulled the cork out of one of Ken Forrester’s finest red wines the Red Arrows were screaming across the sky above Buck House. Royalist or Republican, if the spectacle of the coronation didn’t move you then you must have a heart of stone.


One of the scariest statistics that I have read recently is that 11.5 billion cans of Red Bull energy drink were sold globally in 2022. As far as I’m concerned that means the human race is doomed because anybody who feels the need to consume an energy drink is probably already brain dead. But great news for the F1 team no doubt.

This gloomy view of the human race was reinforced on May 1st when Checkers started selling something called PRIME which is also called a sports drink or an energy drink. Although 500ml bottles of this elixir of life had been said to be previously fetching around R400 a bottle the Checkers price was a far more reasonable R40.

Such was the demand for the much hyped drink that queues formed at Checkers long before opening time and stampedes occurred at several branches as shoppers attempted to get their hands on as many bottles as possible.

Quite why PRIME is in such demand is apparently due to a couple of unremarkable blokes who have a huge following on YouTube and social media and are therefore ‘influencers’. This is apparently all you need to sell crap these days. If an influencer says something is worth having then jelly-brained kids nag their parents until they eventually give in and buy it for them.

So what’s the big deal then? Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay was asked to taste PRIME in the UK and gave it 0/10 saying it tasted like drinking cheap perfume.

Schools in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Canada have already started to ban the drink and in Denmark shops have been told to take it off the shelves because of the very high caffeine content which could be potentially harmful.

Now the initial hype is over it remains to be seen how PRIME will measure up against other equally pointless energy drinks and whether possessing an old PRIME bottle filled with tap water will bestow the same sense of self worth as coughing up R40 for something with a malodorous taste.