From royalist to republican, readers in France reveal coronation plans

From joy to disdain - via a general air of indifference - we find out your feelings on Charles III’s accession to the throne

Will you have the bunting out this weekend?
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Saturday (May 6) sees the coronation of Charles III, almost eight months after the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

With street parties and celebrations across the UK, we asked our readers what they were doing to mark the event in France.

From garden parties to boycotts, here’s what they had to say.

‘A loyal toast to the new king!’

A number of respondents mentioned events they would be holding or going to over the weekend, bringing in the king’s new reign with a bang.

These ranged from attending large public events - a list of which you can see here - to smaller private affairs and garden parties.

C.T., who is hosting a coronation lunch to mark the occasion with a distinctly British menu, said people at the lunch will also raise a “loyal toast” to the new king during the coronation.

He told us the event, held in the Hérault department on Sunday (weather permitting), would bring together a collection of Anglophones from the local community to mark the occasion.

Others, such as N.S, are hosting an afternoon tea, although most of his guests will be nearby Francophones, giving him the chance to share the unique British culture of the coronation with his neighbours.

Other readers hosting similar events say their French friends are “enamoured” with the idea of the royal family, keen to learn more about the event and eager to watch the procession.

After all, with 70 years since Queen Elizabeth II’s ascension to the throne, not many in living memory can remember the last coronation.

Patricia, however, does remember attending an event marking just that back in 1953, and is using that as inspiration to host her own Coronation celebration in Quercy on Sunday, delayed one day so that people can watch the crowning at home the day before.

People are encouraged to recreate the atmosphere of the garden and street parties seen for Queen Elizabeth II.

“Everyone is bringing a dish to share as we did when Queen Elizabeth had her Coronation,” she said.

Read also: Weather warning as 50 departments under alert for storms in France

Less enthusiastic

Sas is helping to host a Coronation celebration in Chantilly on Saturday.

After a successful organisation of a platinum jubilee event to mark last year’s royal milestone, another day was planned.

It was originally an ‘Anglophone Day’ to celebrate British culture - before changes to coincide the event with the coronation.

“Large numbers of our French friends are coming; some just to see their first-ever polo match!”

The event is free and will cater to hundreds of people, with a number of smaller activities throughout the day alongside a celebration of the coronation.

“We will have TVs set up inside to show the coronation if people want to sit and watch it,” she said, with the event taking place at the Apremont Orangerie, close to Chantilly.

“Even if it is raining, many of the events can be moved inside the Orangerie.”

Despite the name of the event, however, not everyone organising it was keen on placing the focus on the coronation.

“While not everyone was equally enthusiastic about calling it a Coronation celebration we are all nonetheless determined to have a fun day out,” she added.

This indifference towards the day was not unique to Chantilly.

Tracy, an English teacher in Dijon, is hosting a coronation event for her students next week, to teach them the traditions, customs, and symbolism behind the event - and she will serve her students traditional English scones and jam.

Mostly though, this is because it was her turn to plan an activity and she was lucky with the timings.

“It’s a convenience really… I lived in Cambridge and have an MA in mediaeval history, so I know about the topic.”

When asked about the monarchy, Tracy (Canadian by birth but with a British husband) said she was “on the fence” about it.

“Right now, there are serious problems in Britain… and that takes away from the importance of the event,” she said.

She said her husband “knows even less than she does,” about the royals, and does not have an interest in the proceedings.

Will she watch the coronation? “Only if it’s raining and there’s nothing else to do!”

Read more: ‘Easier to make life better for Britons in France with summit success’

‘Grotesque and vulgar’

For others, indifference towards the day was replaced with republican disdain.

Readers such as P.E. said they “came to France to escape the mediaeval nonsense… hereditary roles are ridiculous.”

Leon also agreed “I will not be celebrating or watching the event. I am a committed republican.”

Yesterday we spoke to Peter, currently at his second home in the Ardèche, who came to France this weekend specifically to escape the “wall-to-wall coverage” of the event back in the UK.

“When we knew the dates, we made sure to book our visit to align with the coronation to escape.”

“The idea that the taxpayer should be paying for the coronation of a billionaire whilst millions of people in the UK struggle to put food on the table,” was one of the key reasons he saw the event as “grotesque, vulgar [and] ostentatious.”

The French people in his village are not highly enamoured with the coronation, either.

“People around here see him as a crank… The French view him the same way as we do, and seem to see how gross it all is. They’re amazed about the event being held.”

Any plans for the coronation, then? “We will completely ignore it and do anything except watch it!”

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