Education, Modern, News

Thoughts on a New Reign

King Charles III carries out official government duties from his red box in the Eighteenth Century Room at Buckingham Palace in a new photo released Sept. 23. (Victoria Jones/PA via AP)Victoria Jones / AP

On Sunday 18th September a small crowd met at the Knaresborough Market Cross when The Mayor, Councillor Kathryn Davies, was joined by the Town Crier to lead “A Moment of Reflection on the Eve of the Funeral of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II”. After a minute of silence, we sang God Save the King for the first time. Having now said our farewells to our Queen and the period of National Mourning for Her Majesty is passed we look forward to the reign of our new monarch, King Charles III.

The cypher is the personal property of The King and was selected by His Majesty from a series of designs prepared by The College of Arms.

What will we call this reign? The media have suggested the new Carolean era, the Latin for Charles in a similar way that the late monarch’s reign was referred to as the second Elizabethan era. Prime Minister Liz Truss told us we were in a new “Carolean age”. Using the name of the monarch has not always been the case, the Tudor era covered all the Tudor monarchs from Henry VII through to Elizabeth I. This was the house of Tudor rather than the regnal name of the particular monarch. It was her reign we now call the first Elizabethan era. We didn’t think of the reign of King George VI or his father as being the new Georgian era so maybe we should be thinking of the house of Windsor?

Our town has a long association with royalty, the castle being part of the Dutchy of Lancaster now belongs to our new King. Just imagine the scene when Philippa of Hainault took possession of the castle in 1331, and it became a royal residence. The tables weighed down with venison and wild boar from the Forest of Knaresborough, swans, and fish from the river Nidd. Were the tables dressed in the best Knaresborough linen?

Knaresborough Castle

Maybe not but Walton and Co of Castle Mill were appointed linen manufacturers to the Victorian Royal Household and in 1851 they were awarded the Prince Albert Medal for creating a completely seamless shirt woven by George Hemshell. Are his relatives still in the district?

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall at the Great Yorkshire Show 2021

Unfortunately, our castle having been slighted on the orders of parliament in 1648 is hardly in a fit state to host such lavish banquets. We can be sure however that the King and the Queen Consort were well looked after when they visited the Great Yorkshire Show in 2021. The Queen was the first female Patron of the Society and remained so for 45 years from 1952 to 1997. The Prince of Wales has been the Society’s Patron since 1998.

So, what about the Coronation? The Telegraph tells us that the monarch ascended the throne immediately following the death of Queen Elizabeth II. Charles officially became King on Thursday 8 September. However, it is tradition to wait until a sufficient time period of mourning has taken place, before crowning the new sovereign. A large amount of preparation is also required to organise the ceremony. An official coronation date is yet to be announced, however the Telegraph reported that it is likely to be in spring or summer 2023.

BBC Coverage of Coronation 1953

By The Mall, 1953 by Harold Dilworth Crewdson

According to the Northern Echo, King Charles will be coronated. This seemed a bit odd to me but apparently, The Oxford English Dictionary does indeed include “coronate” as a verb meaning to crown, but it labels the usage rare. At a coronation, an archbishop “crowns” a king or queen; he does not “coronate” one – at least not in my opinion and probably most of you!

KING CHARLES III Pool/Getty Images

According to the Royal Mint, new coinage featuring King Charles III will appear over the next few years as will new printed notes. Australia may not even feature the King at all on future notes. We will not have to change all our money to the new coinage as some people on social media would like us to think! The Royal Mint is a limited company wholly owned by His Majesties Treasury, founded by Alfred the Great and has been minting our coinage for over 1100 years. By about 1279 the mint was moved to the Tower of London at a cost of £729 17s 8½d. It remained there until the 1960’s when it moved to a new plant in Llantrisant, Glamorgan, Wales. I guess at a much greater cost.

Because of the decline in cash use the mint has expanded into precious metals, building a new plant to recover these from electronic waste. Possibly the most notable Master of the Royal Mint was Sir Isaak Newton but since his time it has been a political appointment held Chancellor of the Exchequer. The day to day running of the mint is overseen by the Deputy Master of the Mint, Anne Jessopp. Her ceremonial role is to lead the annual Trial of the Pyx first held in 1282, this tests the integrity of the nation’s coins. Remarkably, the history books reveal that if the coins fail the test, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who is the ceremonial Master of the Mint, risks losing a hand as punishment!

Coins by the Royal Mint

The Guardian newspaper says that the design of coins is determined by a tradition going back at least to the time of Charles II that the direction in which the head faces should alternate between the coinage of successive monarchs. The only exception to this has been the coinage of Edward VIII, who insisted on his likeness facing left. It is not clear whether this was an expression of rebellion against convention, or vanity, to show what he regarded as his better profile, containing his hair parting. Edward VIII abdicated before being crowned, and no new coinage was released into general circulation during his reign.

The preview of the first commemorative coins showing that the King will be following tradition and face to left.

Unveiling the First Official Effigy of King Charles III
on a Coinage Collection Honouring
Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth I – I Royal Mint

ITV reports that The King is planning a coronation ceremony that would be “shorter, smaller and less expensive” amid Britain’s cost of living crisis. “He has already spoken of his wish to continue his mother’s legacy, and this includes continuing to recognise what the people are experiencing day by day,” the royal source added. The source added: “The King is very aware of the struggles felt by modern Britons so will see his wishes carried through that although his coronation ceremony should stay right and true to the long-held traditions of the past, it should also be representative of a monarchy in a modern world.”
With that thought we send our warmest wishes to King Charles III on his accession to the throne.