King Charles' jewels in 'cost of living' speech leaves public seeing red

King Charles' opening speech sparks crown jewel controversy

November 13, 2023

King Charles on November 11, took the center stage to deliver his inaugural Opening of Parliament speech as the reigning monarch of England.

This marked a significant occasion as he became the first king to undertake this ceremonial duty since King George VI in 1950, following his mother's remarkable 70-year reign.

While King Charles outlined key priorities for the parliamentary session, including initiatives like curbing youth smoking, tougher sentencing, and increased investment in public transportation, public attention seemed fixated on his wardrobe choices.

Sporting the majestic Imperial State Crown throughout his entire speech – a stark departure from his mother's tradition of placing it on a pillow beside her – the monarch's regal attire stole the spotlight.

The Imperial State Crown, adorned with nearly 3,000 jewels and weighing close to three pounds, became a symbol of the occasion. Unlike Queen Elizabeth, who found the crown too cumbersome for effective public speaking, King Charles opted to keep it on.

Social media erupted with mockery as King Charles III's opulent display during his Opening of Parliament speech drew criticism for its juxtaposition with a fleeting mention of economic concerns for ordinary citizens.

With the monarch's crown valued between £3 and £5 billion pounds, the contrast was highlighted against the backdrop of a declining average household income in the UK.

Public opinion on the British monarchy, as per recent polls, seems to be waning, particularly among young Britons who perceive King Charles as out of touch with the common people.

The taxpayer-funded event featured Charles donning three different crowns, while Queen Camilla's controversial scepter, crafted from elephant tusks, sparked outrage among animal rights activists and reignited discussions about England's imperial history.

In a broader global context, King Charles is part of the 34 constitutional monarchies where royals serve as symbolic figureheads without directly influencing legislation or governance.

This stands in contrast to the few absolute monarchs still reigning in parts of Africa and the Middle East, emphasizing the evolving roles and perceptions surrounding monarchies worldwide.

The burning question on everyone's minds: Will King Charles follow through on his pledges to scale back?

The global audience remains on the edge of their seats, eagerly anticipating the monarch's actions.

However, the lavish spectacle of his coronation, tagged as the most expensive in modern history with a staggering cost of £50 to £100 million pounds, has ignited concerns, particularly as the British economy faces a downturn.

Suggestions to trim down his regal ensemble, perhaps by setting aside at least one of his three crowns, have surfaced.

Notably, the Imperial State Crown worn during his Opening of Parliament speech boasts a storied past, having stood alongside Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field.

The inclusion of the Black Prince Ruby, actually a spinel, adds historical weight as a cherished possession of Henry VIII.

However, a more contentious jewel on the Imperial State Crown, the Cullinan diamond, spotlights the British monarchy's dilemma.

Mined during the era of colonization and exploitation in South Africa, the diamond has become a symbol of a troubled past.

A petition with over 8,000 signatures calls for the diamond's return to South Africa for display in a museum.

While King Charles expresses support for researching the monarchy's ties to slavery, the likelihood of the world's largest diamond returning to its place of origin remains uncertain.