Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Fried Chicken Wednesday: The Coronation

For this installment of #RoyalNewsYouCantUse, I thought you might enjoy a recap of the Coronation of King Charles III, but with a little Busy Black Woman Fried Chicken twist. Because if you sat through it the first time and managed to stay awake...

Bland Chicken Broth

Whew Lawd, what a snooze! And to make matters worse, the British and American tabloid media keep pumping out headlines about the behind-the-scenes machinations leading up to and after the Boringest show on earth. We saw it all, and what we knew to be true some 40 years ago is absolutely still the case: King Charles III is a dud. Monarchy is a lot more interesting to see depicted in fairy tales, in costume dramas on PBS, and on Broadway. Perhaps he should have hired this guy as a warm-up act:

Jonathan Groff as King George III in Hamilton

(Then again, maybe not since he's why most Americans think all of this is silly.) 

As promised, I fully intended to watch this entire spectacle, and I really tried. My daughter woke up in the middle of the night with a cough, so she climbed into bed to share her cooties with me. And then I couldn't go back to sleep, so I began channel surfing and saw that CNN International had blocked off time to cover the Coronation as early as 1am EDT. I watched about ten minutes of commentary, and then it was a wrap--I was out like a light, even with the Kid's elbow jabbing me. When I woke up again a few hours later to the same boring commentary, I flipped over to PBS where there was less talk and more focus on the "action", which is the most ironic word to describe exactly what was not happening at that time.

Lemon Pepper Hot Wings

I must have nodded off again because I jolted awake at the blare of trumpets during the musical overture before the start of the ceremony. To keep the guests entertained prior to his arrival, the King had several pieces commissioned, which were all very elegant and regal. Of course, the stand-out was the South African soprano Pretty Yende, who made sure that she was not only heard (which was lovely), but also seen in this neon yellow dress: 

Winner-Winner Chicken Dinner

The long-awaited arrival of Prodigal Prince Harry was rather anti-climatic since without much fanfare, he walked in, shook a few hands, and made his way to his seat. It didn't matter that he wasn't seated in the front row or that his view was likely obstructed by his Aunt's hat, because of everyone assembled, he seemed to be the only happy person in the Abbey. The delight on his face in this picture is giving us several vibes: (1) Ha, it wasn't me pissing Father off this time (classic mischievous younger brother energy); (2) I think I can win the bet that I'll be back in the States in time to have that tray of Mama Dee's mac and cheese all to myself; (3) here comes my Crazy Aunt Anne, try not to laugh at that enormous goose feather on her Napoleon hat (too late); and (4) I wonder how unseemly it would look if I literally cartwheeled my way out of here right after the benediction?

Flipping the Bird

Speaking of Crazy Aunt Anne, the Princess Royal, who in every photo I have seen of her since Queen Elizabeth died, looks like she's about to storm the Bastille:

Kate's Classic Chicken Pot Pie

Kelly Preston as Jetstream
in Sky High
I have to admit that Princess Catherine of Wales earned my sympathy because she was obviously having a terrible day, but still managed to put on a brave face. It cannot be easy to live under the constant glare of hot lights and to have your every move dissected on social media (just ask your estranged SIL). As for the state of their marriage, it has been 12 years and three children--William is lucky she agreed to wear that ridiculous superhero costume in public. 

On the FB page, I joked that she reminded me of every Black mother I've seen rushing into church after the service has started: thank God we made it, but dammit why are we always late? My guess is that she had the same kind of morning I've had whenever I discover that my daughter has been playing in my makeup (and I swear it happens every single time when I have to be somewhere). After making sure that the Heirs and other children were dressed, Kate finally had a few minutes to focus on herself. As she was rummaging through her makeup bag, she discovered that Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis had been mixing her eye shadow colors again. Everything was a mess, and when she complained to William, he just stared at her and blinked nervously. For it was then at that moment he remembered that he had forgotten to tell her that per the Queen-to-be, Kate couldn't wear her favorite tiara. 

Which not only explains why they were late, but also why everybody in her wingspan looked so tense and mortally afraid once they arrived at the Abbey. Kate must have cursed them all out, which threw everybody off their game. Poor Prince George was trying not to trip/step on Granddaddy's train. Prince William forgot the lines he had been rehearsing all of his life and had to read from the cue cards. Prince Edward, 38th in line to the throne, looking both bewildered and ecstatic to finally sit on the front row at one of these events was thinking what the bloody hell did I do to her?

And Kate, seething with the rage of a woman who found out at the very last minute that she couldn't wear the tiara she had pre-selected so she had to do something else creative with her hair, made everybody wait. She sent Charlotte into her room to find an old doily and on the car ride over to the Abbey, they went to work crafting a Mommy and Me hairpiece. Looks pretty good, if you ask me.

The Side Dishes

Now I know what I said I wouldn't say, but you have to admit that Queen Camilla was serving Lady Elaine Fairchilde (before her modern Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood makeover):

And Rose Hanbury could be a doppelganger for Lady Betty Aberlin if this were all taking place in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe:

Chicken is the Gospel Bird

With Duchess Meghan and her Mama Dee sound asleep in California, I'm guessing the need to prove just how the British royals are "very much not a racist family" was real. Therefore, the King wisely remembered that at one point in time, the sun never set on his Grandfather's imperial spice rack, so perhaps it would be a gesture of good will to sprinkle a little seasoning into the flour. Not only did he make sure to invite all of the various heads of state and assorted royalty, he also had their presence strategically photographed and announced:

Crown Prince Fumihito and Crown Princess Kiko of Japan

Ditto for the ecumenical outreach in having representatives of every faith in full regalia as a nod to the religious diversity of modern UK and throughout the Commonwealth. The King even stopped for a quick photo opp chat with a few clergy before leaving the Abbey:

Lucky also, that the current Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had some free time on his calendar and hasn't gotten the sack yet:

And finally, the Ascension Gospel Choir, an offshoot of the Kingdom Choir that performed at Harry and Meghan's wedding day in 2018, made history as the first gospel group to perform at a coronation at the specific behest of His Majesty:

Rubber Chickens

There was a lot of talk about ancient rites and rituals which were allegedly modernized...but I didn't see much evidence of that. There were visible roles for women and we've already addressed the racial and religious diversity aspect. However, other than allowing the boys to wear pants instead of tights and not having an assembly full of old men wearing powdered wigs, everything else looked exactly as ostentatious and over-the-top as it must have looked since the Dark Ages.

For example, that whole bowing to the King and pledging loyalty by the Prince of Wales was definitely strange, in a King Lear kind of way. Not only that, it gave off vibes of remember Father, I'm the loyal son and it was Kate who made us late. The fact that Prince William was the only person who had to perform that ritual formally, while everyone else simply bowed or curtseyed, was even weirder.

Not sure why Katy Perry, a judge on AMERICAN Idol, kept curtseying, nor shall we discuss the overall awkwardness of this bit with the King and Lionel Richie. However, I think the fact that Brenda Richie both promotes and shades her ex-husband in her tweets is finger-licking gold!

Finally, now that the food has been eaten and the servants are clearing the dishes, there are two extra crispy nuggets left behind that sum up everything you ever wanted to know about this Coronation.  First, several of the Commonwealth nations are still intent on dumping the monarchy. They were only sticking around as a courtesy to Queen Elizabeth. Second, on Morning Joe the other day, Katty Kay, American-based correspondent for the BBC admitted that once she got back to the States, all of this coronation business looked rather silly. Because it IS!

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