'Not my King' to 'It's our history, too!': Canadians divided on value of King Charles' coronation, monarchy for future

Many Canadians want a break from the Commonwealth and the monarchy, citing a lack of relevance to modern Canada

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King Charles III and wife Queen Camilla were crowned in a ceremony steeped with pomp and pageantry at Westminster Abbey in London on Saturday.

Shouts of "God Save the King" and trumpet fanfare echoed across the Abbey, spilling out into London's streets as the Archbishop of Canterbury lowered St. Edward's Crown onto the King's head.

Following the coronation, the King and Queen, followed by other members of the family, returned to Buckingham Palace in a grand procession, cheered on by crowds of people gathered from all corners of the British Commonwealth.

While members of the public braved overcast skies and rain to catch a glimpse of the newly-crowned monarch, storm clouds are brewing as Commonwealth members reconsider ties to the monarchy and U.K. taxpayers decry the cost of the coronation amid a cost of living crisis.

One of the promises the King made ahead of his coronation was that of a "slimmed down" ceremony in an effort to cut costs, but many U.K. taxpayers say they are reaching into already-empty pockets to foot the estimated $125 million event. This is roughly double the cost of Queen Elizabeth II's coronation 70 years earlier.

Cost of coronation too high to swallow, taxpayers say

As cameras panned over the crowd, protesters were spotted waving banners with "abolish the monarchy" and "not my king" printed on them.

With King Charles's net worth estimated to be around $2.3 billion, taxpayers wonder why the family is simply not chipping in to cover some of the costs associated with the coronation.

While royal revelers far outnumbered the protesters in the London streets on coronation day, an increasing number of U.K. citizens are growing restless with the monarchy and the costs associated with their maintenance.

Canadians have frosty response to coronation

Efforts have been raised in recent years to denounce colonialism, with many countries across the globe debating their future as remaining members of the British Commonwealth. Barbados was the latest country seeking independence, and removed Queen Elizabeth II as head of state during 2021.

The coronation of King Charles and Queen Camilla is also seeing a rather frosty response in Canada, as recent polling conducted by Abacus Data just days before indicates only four per cent of Canadians will be following King Charles III's coronation "very closely." A recent poll on @CanadianPolling also revealed that Canadians are at the top of a list of nations who believe there's no place for a monarchy.

When asked whether Canada should continue to have a monarch as its head of state, 12 per cent definitely feel it should, while more than double the number feel it definitely shouldn't. The sentiment after the coronation echoed a similar sentiment, with many suggesting Canada's head of state should be Canadian. Others were bothered by the colonial links still ever-present in the coronation ceremony.

Despite cooling Canadian views, celebrations across country

While relations between Canada and the monarchy may be cooling, the pageantry was evident at celebrations held across the country to mark the historical event — the largest being held in the nation's capital.

"We need to give him a chance to show us that he is a good leader," Canadian Gov. Gen. Mary Simon said in a statement.

Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc offered a statement on behalf of the Government of Canada saying "Today we will witness an event steeped in the traditions dating back to the Middle Ages. But tradition is not an impediment to modernity. By looking to the past, we can better understand our present and witness how we have progressed as a nation."

Some Canadians online also referenced the importance of marking Canada's historic links to the monarchy.

The federal government also used this opportunity to announce how the coronation would chance our current currency, as marked by tradition. The Royal Canadian Mint will begin embedding an effigy of His Majesty King Charles III on Canadian circulation coins, and the Bank of Canada saying his face will appear on the new $20 bill.

There were several Canadian aspects present at the coronation in London, the most markedly being the Royal Canadian Mounted Police on horseback, leading the royal procession.

Simon, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and several Indigenous leaders flew to London to partake in the coronation festivities.