One Ceremony In The Proclamation Of The King That Hasn’t Changed In Centuries
The British monarchy, by design and necessity, straddles the line between modern and ancient. It goes back almost a thousand years, according to Britannica, to 1066 when William the Conqueror defeated King Harold II of England, effectively establishing the current monarchy.
Over the centuries, the rules and traditions that govern the monarchy fell into place and many of them, anachronistic though they may be, still remain. For example, royals still travel about in carriages from time to time, even though automobiles have been a thing in Old Blighty for over a century.
That’s the thing about traditions: we hold on to them simply because they’re traditions. As Tevye sang in “Fiddler on the Roof,” “You may ask, how did this tradition start? I’ll tell you — I don’t know. But it’s a tradition!”
And on September 10, 2022, an archaic, yet quaint tradition was on full display across the realm following the proclamation of Charles III as king.
Proclamations from horseback
By the time Charles was proclaimed king on September 10, 2022, the world had already known about it for about 48 hours. And by “the world” we literally mean the entire world; thanks to mass media and the internet, rare is the person who missed the memo that King Charles III was and is the new sovereign of the United Kingdom and its Commonwealth Realms.
Of course, the internet only goes back about 50 years, and its wide-scale use only about 30; television only goes back about 100 years; radio only about 130 years; and mass printing only about 450 years. Prior to mass media, the only way to get a message out far and wide was to verbally deliver it, à la Paul Revere, to those who needed to hear the news.
As it turns out, that’s how they’ve been proclaiming the king or queen in Britain for 1,000 years, and that’s how they’re continuing to do it even though in 2022 it’s completely redundant and unnecessary. As The New York Times reports, sentries on horseback first visited Trafalgar Square to tell Londoners who might have missed the memo about their new king. From there they’re expected to deliver the message across the U.K. in the same way — on horseback.