But Canadians’ lacklustre reaction to Charles III’s coronation could still change
A fascinating moment in British history will occur this weekend. The coronation of Charles III and his wife, Camilla, will take place on May 6 at Westminster Abbey. He will become the first British monarch to be crowned in the 21st century.
This will also be the 40th coronation at Westminster since William the Conqueror in 1066. “William probably chose the Abbey for his coronation to reinforce his claim to be a legitimate successor” of Edward the Confessor, according to the Abbey’s official website.
Several hundred million people will surely watch Saturday’s festivities. Alas, there are also early indications that most of the world won’t bother to tune in.
The UK anti-monarchy group Republic’s Mar. 29-30 joint poll of 2,002 adults with YouGov suggested that 52 per cent of Brits aren’t interested in the coronation. The total breakdown is 15 per cent are “very interested,” 29 per cent are “fairly interested,” 24 per cent are “not very interested,” and 28 per cent are “not interested at all.”
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In an Apr. 11 piece for HuffPost UK, Kate Nicholson wrote that Republic seems to be suggesting “as many as eight billion people around the world will not be watching – even though Charles is now the head of the Commonwealth, too. This stat is confusing because the world’s population passed eight billion in 2022, but Republic’s campaigners think it’s more accurate to say that between 7.7 billion and 7.8 billion people will not be watching the coronation globally. That still means around 300 million will be tuning in, though.”
Aside from anti-monarchists with lousy math skills, several countries have shown a lacklustre reaction to Charles III’s coronation. One of them is Canada.
According to the Angus Reid Institute’s Apr. 24 poll of 2,013 adults, only 28 per cent of Canadian respondents had a very favourable/favourable view of Charles III, whereas 48 per cent were the opposite, and 25 per cent were uncertain.
Even worse, 60 per cent oppose “recognizing Charles as King by swearing oaths to him, putting him on currency and recognizing him as head of state.” The breakdown was 64 per cent opposed to swearing an oath and singing “God Save the King,” and 62 per cent opposed to seeing his face on a $20 bill or toonie.
Camilla’s favourable/unfavourable rating was just as painful. Two-thirds of respondents, or 66 per cent, don’t want her to become Queen of Canada. Meanwhile, three-in-five Canadians, or 60 per cent, believe “she should not be referred to as ‘Queen.’”
With respect to Canada’s overall view of the British monarchy, 49 per cent said it’s “no longer relevant at all.” A total of 28 per cent believed it was “becoming less relevant,” 20 per cent felt it was “as relevant as it used to be,” and three per cent suggested it was “more relevant than ever.”
I was disappointed to see these low numbers … and I’m not even a monarchist! (I believe in maintaining and protecting the institution’s history and traditions in our country, and I wouldn’t support re-opening the Constitution.)
It’s obviously not a trade secret that Canadian support for the British monarchy has sharply declined in recent years. The same thing has happened in other Commonwealth countries, especially in the Caribbean. The naysayers would probably agree with a recent Ipsos poll that William and Kate, the Prince and Princess of Wales, are still the two most popular royals.
The fact that Charles III’s popularity has plummeted to near-record low levels in the Great White North before being crowned is eye-catching.
Canada’s lack of faith in his rule is certainly striking. Why? Charles III has followed his late mother Queen Elizabeth II’s leadership model almost to the letter since he ascended to the throne last September. It’s been remarkably positive and has helped ease some concerns about his political views and potential leadership style that has lingered for decades.
The debate over Camilla as Queen and Queen Consort stems from then-Prince Charles’s failed relationship with the late Princess Diana. The latter is still held in high regard to this day in our country, whereas the former is often treated with suspicion and scorn. Again, why? Camilla, to her credit, has been the one member of the Royal Family to largely stay out of trouble, controversy and the poison pill of the tabloid press. She’s been a model of consistency, decency and respectfulness, unlike the never-ending foibles involving Prince Andrew, Harry and Meghan.
Maybe it’s for the best that, in the grand scheme of things, Canadian views about the British monarchy are completely irrelevant.
At the same time, what Canadians say about Charles III and Camilla before the coronation doesn’t mean that our country’s total viewership won’t be significantly higher on the day of said event. We’ll find out shortly.
Michael Taube, a Troy Media syndicated columnist and Washington Times contributor, was a speechwriter for former prime minister Stephen Harper. He holds a master’s degree in comparative politics from the London School of Economics.
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