A new dawn has broken. The coronation of King Charles takes us into the second Coralean age. Long live King Charles III!
One of the most moving moments of the service was the homage Prince William made to his father on behalf of the royal family. William knelt before his father, placed his hands in between the King’s, and said: “I, William, Prince of Wales, pledge my loyalty to you, and faith and truth I will bear unto you, as your liege man of life and limb. So help me God.”
He then kissed his father’s cheek and touched St Edward’s Crown before returning to his seat.
It was an emotional moment to witness, a strong love and bond between father and son, not just king and prince, that is sacred between them because of the royal life of public service that it entails and the centuries of history it follows.
Interestingly, the same pledge was made to King George V by his playboy son and heir, Edward VIII, when he was the Prince of Wales. He caused his family many a sleepless night.. Known to them as ‘David’, he was charming and informal, a popular prince touring Britain and the empire, fond of golf, tennis, parties and dancing. And Wallis Simpson.
King George was not a man who showed his emotions to his children. But his diary entry for 22 June 1911 describes he was moved to tears by his son’s pledge of allegiance. This is his account of the day, and yes, it also rained then:
“It was overcast & cloudy with slight showers & a strongish cool breeze, but better for the people than great heat. Today was indeed a great & memorable day in our lives & one which we can never forget, but it brought back to me many sad memories of 9 years ago when the beloved Parents were crowned. May & I left B.P. in the Coronation coach at 10.30. with 8 cream coloured horses. There were over 50,000 troops lining the streets under the command of Ld. Kitchener. There were hundreds of thousands of people who gave us a magnificent reception. The Service in the Abbey was most beautiful & impressive, but it was a terrible ordeal. It was grand, yet simple & most dignified & went without a hitch.
“I nearly broke down when dear David came to do homage to me, as it reminded me so much when I did the same thing to beloved Papa, he did it so well. Darling May looked lovely & it was indeed a comfort to me to have her by my side, as she has been ever to me during these last 18 years. We left Westminster Abbey at 2.15. (having arrived there before 11.0) with our Crowns on & sceptres in our hands. This time we drove by the Mall, St James’ Street & Piccadilly, crowds enormous & decorations very pretty. On reaching B.P. just before 3.0. May & I went out on the balcony to show ourselves to the people. Downey photographed us in our robes with Crowns on. Had some lunch with our guests here. Worked all the afternoon with Bigge & others answering telegrams & letters of which I have hundreds. Such a large crowd collected in front of the Palace that I went out on balcony again. Our guests dined with us at 8.30. May & I showed ourselves again to the people. Wrote & read. Rather tired. Bed at 11.45. Beautiful illuminations everywhere.”
The rest is history, as they say, with Edward VIII breaking the homage he made to his father by abdicating twenty five years later.