Pomp and Circumstance

The coronation of King Charles III was full of the pageantry and ceremony that one would expect from a state occasion of this nature, the like of which has not been seen since the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in June 1953.

No other country in the world can put on a show like this, and several hundred million people from around the world watched it on television or via live streaming.

It was, of course, primarily an Anglo-Protestant, Christian ceremony that took place in Westminster Abbey and was conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The King, after all, is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England.

However, King Charles III, who reigns over the United Kingdom and the other 14 commonwealth realms, lives in a country very different from the one in which his mother ascended the throne.

The United Kingdom is a multi-cultural society, and that fact was acknowledged in the content of the coronation ceremony.

It commenced with a “Procession of Faith Leaders” in which the Chief Rabbi took part, and included a reading from the Scriptures by the prime minister, Rishi Sunak, who is a practising Hindu. “Alleluia” was sung by the black Ascension gospel choir, and there was material composed by Tarik O’Regan, who has both Arab and Irish heritages.

Although it was essentially a Christian ceremony, there was clearly an attempt to be inclusive. The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland referred to the Monarch’s role in seeking “to foster an environment in which people of all faiths and beliefs may live freely”.

At a time when Israel is caught up in a power struggle involving the disparate “tribes” that make up our nation and in which differences are being accentuated, the coronation of King Charles III can serve as a model of how we can respect and recognize the rights of those who differ from us.

About the Author
Made aliyah from the UK in 1985, am a former president of the Israel Council of Reform Rabbis and am currently rabbi of Kehilat Yonatan in Hod Hasharon, Israel.