I made an unfortunate error on my computer this morning and accidentally tuned into the meeting of the ‘Accession Council’ of the Privy Council, which met to officially announce that a 73 year-old bloke from SW1 had been nominated to be King. It was an important meeting because the front row was dominated by six former prime ministers, each of whom clearly looked as if, had they only just been given a few more years, they could have saved the country and turned it into the arcadia they promised on their first day. Oh well, let’s not talk about Enoch Powell’s famous comment now. The striking thing about this gathering was not just how it was largely comprised of grey-haired white men, but how seriously they took it. One of the few women present, ‘Lord’ of the Council, Penny Morduant MP (she’s on the stage doing the MC-ing) indicated how serious the business was with a series of eight ‘proclamations’ most of which authorised various secretaries of state to order guns to be fired in Hyde Park, Edinburgh and Belfast (no mention of Cardiff). Proclamation No.4 gave us a clue as to who really runs the country when authority was given to the Aldermen of the City of London and their associated worthies to shout hurrahs from wherever they roll up their trouser legs.
This display of national unity was marred however by a controversy over the Privy Counsellors who couldn't get into the meeting. In 1952, there were about 250 PCs, now there are over 700. Such is the planning that goes into these great occasions of state nobody thought about moving the venue to accommodate the vastly expanded numbers of ’Right Honourables.’ Well, I suppose it’s on a par with crowding in airports, you just can’t get the staff. Anyway, the good news is that the 300% rise in Rt. Hons. does suggest that the UK is three times more honourable than it was in 1952, which is no bad thing when you think about it.
I am relieved the proclamation was made. For King Charles 3 it must feel like being elected onto a district council unopposed. It saves a lot of hassle. Many of his predecessors had no such luck. In fact, one could argue that the majority of his predecessors had to literally fight for the job. That was one way in which the metal of our hereditary monarchs was tested. Well, call me old fashioned, but . . .