EDEN CONFIDENTIAL: King is warned against giving in to ‘drips and dullards’ by ‘watering down’ his Coronation
- Ben Goldsmith has warned the coronation on May 6 could be ‘watered down’
- Read more: Dukes are left off the guest list for King Charles’s big day
King Charles is in danger of giving in to ‘drips and dullards’ by ‘watering down’ his Coronation.
The warning will set alarm bells ringing at Buckingham Palace because it comes from Ben Goldsmith, whose family have been close to the royals for decades.
‘No amount of watering down will ever be enough for the drips and dullards who really want this kind of thing abolished altogether,’ says the financier, whose sister, film producer Jemima Goldsmith, was one of Princess Diana’s best friends.
‘They represent a small, chippy minority who, for now, can be easily ignored. For the rest of us who enjoy the beauty of these ancient ceremonies, go big or go home.’
Goldsmith is a good friend of Queen Camilla’s nephew Ben Elliot and is so close to the royals that he and his wife, Jemima, a caterer, hosted the wedding party for Prince and Princess Michael of Kent’s daughter, Lady Gabriella Windsor.
Ben Goldsmith (left) and his ex-wife Kate meet the then Prince of Wales shortly after he married the Queen Consort in 2005
Goldsmith is a good friend of Queen Camilla’s nephew Ben Elliot, a Conservative party politician (pictured in 2011 at the wedding of Ben Elliot)
His comments follow my disclosure on Saturday that most of the 24 non-royal dukes — the most senior rank in the peerage — had not received invitations to the Coronation.
Read more: Coronation cull: Dukes are left off the guest list for King Charles’s big day leaving some of Britain’s most senior aristocrats shocked and dismayed
One of those, Goldsmith confirms, is the Duke of Somerset. He had been ‘sprucing up’ the family state coach so he could potentially arrive at Westminster Abbey in ducal splendour.
Goldsmith says: ‘Apparently, peers have been told they aren’t allowed to wear their coronation robes at the Coronation next month. Some, including our local one here, the Duke of Somerset, haven’t been invited at all.’
He adds: ‘It’s 70 years since the last one of these. I really hope it won’t end up being a watered-down affair. Britain does these kinds of celebrations so well, and they matter to a huge number of people, not just here but around the world.’
At Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation, the senior peer of each ‘degree’ — the duke, marquess, earl, viscount and baron with the oldest titles — ‘paid homage’ to the new monarch.
Goldsmith believes it’s a mistake for the King to try to downplay the pageantry. ‘Everything else changes all the time, and so it’s reassuring for there to be some things which don’t change, through generations,’ says the son of late tycoon Sir James Goldsmith and Lady Annabel Goldsmith, the daughter of a marquess.
Ben adds: ‘America, a newer society than ours, has created for itself a whole array of local and national rituals and ceremonies’ (pictured with the King in 2015)
‘For this reason, every society that has ever existed has had its own unique, often strange and inexplicable rituals and traditions.’
Ben, the brother of Tory minister Lord (Zac) Goldsmith, adds: ‘America, a newer society than ours, has created for itself a whole array of local and national rituals and ceremonies which matter a great deal to the people involved in them. There is an ugly kind of self-hatred in calls for the watering down or eradication of the ones which are unique to our society. Thankfully, it’s only a small, slightly depressing minority, for the time being. Fingers crossed they are completely ignored.’
On Saturday, I reported that the Duke of Rutland, whose father attended two coronations and whose aunt appeared on the Buckingham Palace balcony, had been excluded.
‘I have not been asked,’ the Duke told me, saying he did ‘not really understand’ why. ‘It has been families like mine that have supported the Royal Family over 1,000 years or thereabouts.’
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