What is on your shield?

There was a lot of symbolism evoked in the coronation. Did it speak to you?


It’s not like you don’t live in a symbolic world normally. You’re fluent in Symbol; runes and codes are still everywhere, on everything, underneath the battery flap of everything, printed on the processor and the mother board of everything, at the bottom of every stakeholder family tree, lurking in every strategy deck.

Modern life is still like navigating an ancient tomb network.

For many of us, the medieval language of Charles III’s crowning moment seemed only absurd smoke and mirrors; the Holy Handgrenade of Antioch presented to the Wizard of Oz, literally behind a curtain. The gilded fig leaf of old power.

Did the magic work enough, though? Does the royal heritage spell still bind you?

Standing on a stage a couple of weeks before dressed as a Shakespearian merchant, none of this seemed very old to me – it is the world we are still living in, I was suggesting seriously, while trying to hold on my ruff and asymmetric meat-flap hat.

But should budding British republicans be wishing for a modernist purge of mystical references in a new head of state structure? I’m not so sure.

Charles surely fluffed the opportunity to really speak to the people. No place for Celtic, Pagan, Islamic, Hindu, Jewish, Humanist Britain. White rich Britain is the sovereign symbol of power here still, lads.

I think if he’d had one of his mother’s corgis brought in on a pillow, crowned with a small doggy tiara and pronounced himself Fido Defensor Elizabeth’s heir would’ve united the nation at a stroke in agreeing he’d smashed the whole thing out of the park.

Instead, as Nesrine Malik put it perfectly in a Guardian take on the whole affair, amid so many examples of free speech being eroded from our streets and digital lives, we’re being told we can only “look up and fawn or look down and despair.”

When oh fluffing when will we be encouraged to look forward?

The morning after, Mrs Peach imagined something else. A simple symbol that Charles could have brought into Westminster Abbey to speak to us and our shared place in the world’s imagination.

Shields. Simply carried in procession down the aisle to the altar. Shields with marks of belief, marks of identity – sigils sealing in spirits of empowerment, in a way. Yes, a star of David, a crescent, a cross, but guild arms to to represent fields of creativity, icons of nature and the wider living world we’re part of here, marks of protection over those finding their voices among us whose rights are precarious at best.

What if those shields had locked together, as a Roman defence wall, uniting all these symbols of us? All those promises to our shared tomorrows lining up in front of King and Queen and priest? What if that king had stepped in front of it and declared his intention to serve and defend faith in the Britain we really embody together, and the one we’d love to dare hope in?

The establishment and people raised too high in it may never be able to lead us in such hopes.

But I think it’s time we started casting spells of our own over our futures.

Who knows what we might loose and bind, protect and champion if we had new symbols to rally behind in our magical creative power?

What marks do you wish you could make? And just what would you defend and raise up with them?


Header image: Solid Imagery and Bournemouth Writing Festival.

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