Queen Elizabeth II was crowned on 2 June 1953 in London. C. S. Lewis chose not to attend the festivities because the weather was not great, because he did not like crowds, nor did he feel like dressing up. Instead he watched the event on TV (it was the first fully televised coronation). In July, Lewis wrote this in a letter (Letters, 3:343):
You know, over here people did not get that fairy-tale feeling about the coronation. What impressed most who saw it was the fact that the Queen herself appeared to be quite overwhelmed by the sacramental side of it. Hence, in the spectators, a feeling of (one hardly knows how to describe it) – awe – pity – pathos – mystery. The pressing of that huge, heavy crown on that small, young head becomes a sort of symbol of the situation of humanity itself: humanity called by God to be His vice-regent and high priest on earth, yet feeling so inadequate. As if He said, ‘In my inexorable love I shall lay upon the dust that you are glories and dangers and responsibilities beyond your understanding.’ Do you see what I mean? One has missed the whole point unless one feels that we have all been crowned and that coronation is somehow, if splendid, a tragic splendor.
One thought on “Glories, Dangers, and Responsibilities Beyond Understanding”
Methinks you need to move into the Commonwealth, where we are able to appreciate this….