Monday, September 12, 2022

Impressive Monarch’s Legal Accession System In UK Gives Charles III The Nod

Posted by Peter Quennell

Some Takes

At first glance, this ceremony Saturday morning might not seem like much.

And most UK and US media aired short versions or brief excerpts, often with commentators talking over the goings-on.

But watched carefully, it is rather impressive stuff.

1. This was the first accession ceremony since 1952 and the first ever to be shown on TV.

2. The only person here in 2022 who might have been present in 1952 was Charles, who was then four; his free-spirited “mum” was then 26.

3. Charles had been up in Scotland the day before and had had little time to rehearse where to walk or to write a compelling speech. 

4. The complex 70-minute business meeting of sorts, some of it ancient and some of it a bit arcane, was impeccably planned.

5. Under a confident new Cabinet appointee, Penny Mordaunt, the process moved flawlessly, without a single hitch. Some key decisions were ratified.

6. Normally the organizing of that audience is like herding cats; here even Boris formed part of a quiet, observant common front.

7. The gilded surroundings looked great. The first time those rooms at St James Palace (200 yards from the front of Buckingham Palace, off to the left) have been shown on TV.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/12/22 at 01:03 PM in


Only three people spoke…. huh?! Are we quite sure this was the UK?!

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/12/22 at 02:15 PM | #

The western world is full of people who have a nose for systems and who realize many now need to be replaced or made better - but are frustrated and exhausted over how to do it.

King Charles seems to me one of those; his late mom was always a stickler for good systems, and he has his environment & farming interests. It was Queen Elizabeth and Charles behind the efficiency of the Accession event. 

And somehow Penny Mordaunt managed to figure out the first step nationally - her book on “beyond BREXIT” is a good baseline, especially given how clueless BREXIT was otherwise.

Also she has a compelling leadership manner, which she was quite widely praised for demonstrating in this Accession event.

A pity if one day Penny Mordaunt ends up in the same boat as Charles. They are both so close to being effective.

A few weeks ago I sent her office a review of her book with some tips on how to execute it. Her staff emailed back that they’d get around to checking it out. So no excuses!

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/13/22 at 10:49 AM | #

The late Queen is now lying in state in Westminster Hall prior to her funeral. I have to say one thing we British do very well is pomp and circumstance. The public can enter the hall and pay their respects for the next 9 days.

Until it is all over I suspect the wall to wall TV coverage will continue with due reverence and deference.

The hall is the only part of the Parliament buildings to survive the Blitz and it’s history goes back to the Conqueror’s son, William II. So, plenty to keep the TV commentators busy. What amuses me, however, is that in all this none of them has as yet mentioned the hall’s most famous historical event, the trial of King Charles 1 for treason on conclusion of the English Civil War. He was executed by beheading.

It is unlikely the commentators do not know this so perhaps it is tact on their part or, more likely, some dictat from above. Talk about whitewashing our history!

Posted by James Raper on 09/14/22 at 11:24 AM | #

James’s chortling is pretty funny… but the blunt fact is: he is right!

Here we see (especially today) a demo of the extraordinary heavy lifting still possible by one of the great system-inventing nations of all time.

The late Charles 1 really did not behave himself - the straw that broke the camel’s back was his attempted abolition of parliament. Immense kudos to the Brits for pushing back on that. He was executed maybe 1000 yards away, past Downing Street outside the Banquet Hall.

Within the Queen’s lifetime all of the Parliament buildings and Great Hall were royal property (hence Palace of Westminster) and the royal family actually lived on and off somewhere in there.

We need to credit CHURCHILL in large part for the impressive system enhancer that the Queen became.

Queen Victoria’s husband Albert realized it would be smart to make the monarchy more the voice of the people, more bottom up, but he died early, and Victoria and immediate heirs went back to being remote.

In World War II Churchill enlisted his close buddy George VI to go out and about with him after Hitler’s nightly bombings to keep British spirits up. A real deflection point. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh enthusiastically picked up on this.

When he died, the Queen made a statement about how Churchill had mattered to her so much which is being quoted on BBC TV without comprehension. In part she was thanking him for this.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/14/22 at 12:55 PM | #

It is no coincidence that the two most systems-inventing-est nations in Europe (the UK and Italy) now have two of the worst economies.

Their problem is NOT that in some way they have failed.

The problem is that they have had wild successes, and so THOSE systems get locked in stone and become their worst enemies - millstones round their necks - kept there through vested interests.

In part this was the cause of Brexit. The EC does not do a great job at systems invention & enhancement, but it is good enough for okay growth for most of the nations.

Meanwhile the UK with its sense of specialness from being the only nation to face down Hitler and from empire (and thus commonwealth) was iffy about anyone over there on the continent meddling with its sacred systems and suggesting that anyone else could do things better.

The Queen had done her bit to brush up many of those special UK systems - it’s telling that her best friend in later life was Sophie, wife of Prince Edward, who lives near Windsor and is also a military history buff. The two of them would spend hours in the royal archives kept at Windsor figuring out how British military and empire SYSTEMS worked.

And she gave encouragement to those (too-fewish) new scientific and commercial systems being evolved locally.

But in recent years someone like Penny Mordaunt (whose book might be entitled “Beyond Politics”) should have taken over leadership for the next wave of systems to be brought in.

King Charles sounds a bit weary with all of this “service” and “duty” nonsense. But he has a remarkable opportunity.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/15/22 at 09:31 AM | #

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