Anti-monarchists and Republicans in the UK protest coronation of Charles III

As the UK struggles with a severe cost of living crisis and workers struggle for pay hikes, the decision to hold an elaborate and expensive coronation ceremony has been widely criticized. 51% of the respondents in a poll conducted in April by YouGov said that the coronation ceremony should not be a state-funded event

May 08, 2023 by Peoples Dispatch
8-05 UK Protests
Anti-monarchy protests in the UK. (Photo: Guy Smallman via Socialist Worker)

Anti-monarchist and Republican groups protested the coronation of Charles Windsor and his wife Camilla as the King and Queen of the UK on Saturday, May 6. Hundreds gathered in various parts of the country, including the capital London, raising banners saying ‘Not My King” and “Time for a Republic.” The Metropolitan Police detained around 50 people in London and surrounding areas, sparking criticism from rights groups who termed it a violation of the freedom to protest. The Young Communist League (YCL- Britain), Communist Party of Britain (CPB), and the Communist Party of Ireland (CPI) also protested the coronation of the new monarch.

The coronation was an extravagant, traditional ceremony held at Westminster Abbey in the presence of politicians, clergy, and celebrities. The event marked the official assumption of the throne by Charles following the death of his mother Elizabeth II—the country’s longest-reigning monarch—on September 8, 2022. 

The UK has seen rising disenchantment towards the ruling elites and a severe cost of living crisis. Workers in the country have been protesting the austerity policies of the Tory government headed by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, and fighting for decent wages to cope with the high inflation. In these circumstances, the decision to conduct an elaborate coronation ceremony has been widely criticized.

In a poll conducted by YouGov in April, 51% of the respondents were of the view that the coronation ceremony should not be a state-funded event. According to unofficial estimates, the coronation cost the exchequer £100 million (US$ 126 million).

John Wight opined in the Morning Star that “Britain is humiliated, infantilized, and disgraced by its enduring tolerance of the monarchy. Any talk of progressive reform must include the abolition of this semi-feudal farce.”

“Making matters still more abhorrent” is the fact that King Charles inherited £650m (US$ 822.12 million) tax-free from his mother, and gets £350m (US$ 442.68 million) a year tax-free from taxpayers. He also has an estate worth £22 billion (US$ 27.82 billion) that is never taxed. Yet, “the man can’t pay for his own coronation,” Wight added.

In a statement on May 7, the Young Communist League (YCL-Britian) said that “the coronation of Charles III, a frivolous pageant dedicated to wealth & exuberance while millions suffer in poverty and destitution, brings shame on our nation. We must cast aside these feudal remnants. Only under a worker’s republic shall all things be held in common.”