from Diary of a Wimpy Kid #8: Hard Luck
written and illustrated by Jeff Kinney
Abrams/Amulet Books, 2014
accessed on Libby 4/30/23
It may not have been Gregg Heffley’s destiny to be part of the staff on his Yearbook, but Queen Elizabeth II’s firstborn, Charles Mountbatten-Winsor, was destined (or fated?) to become King Charles III.
His coronation will take place this Saturday, May 6, 2023, amidst a throng of thousands in person and on-line. The ceremony will be photographed by serious journalists, tabloid artists, and regular folks with smartphones.
Majestic is probably the best word to describe the reverential, religious, and regal festivities. The prescribed procession includes religious leaders of all faiths, including Jewish, Muslim, and Hindu leaders. The King will be formally greeted. After a moment of silent prayer and collective singing, the five main elements included in the coronation itself will begin.
First is Recognition. Its formality harkens to the Anglo-Saxons. Charles will receive a red leather-bound Bible. The presentation dates back to the joint Coronation of William III and Mary II in 1689.
Part II is The Oath. The Coronation Oath Act of 1688 requires the King to declare that he will maintain the established Anglican Protestant Church, rule according to laws agreed in Parliament, and cause law, justice, and mercy to be executed in his judgment. This year, for the first time, the Archbishop of the Church of England will preface the oath with the promise that the King “will seek to foster an environment where people of all faiths and beliefs may live freely.” The Oath includes prayers, hymns, and a sermon.
The Anointing, Part III, is the most important facet of the religious ceremony and is performed in private.
The Investiture and Crowning comes next. The King is presented with Golden Spurs representing knighthood and chivalry, the Jewelled Sword of Offering symbolizing royal power and the King’s acceptance of his duties, the Armills known as the “bracelets of sincerity and wisdom,” the royal robe, stole, orb, and ring, glove, scepter, and finally comes the crowning itself. The crown weighs almost 5 US pounds and is worth about $4,500,000.00. The bells in Westminster Abbey will ring for 2 full minutes in the Fanfare. Leaders of all the religious denominations will invoke a blessing for love, protection, grace, and wisdom over the newly-crowned King Charles III.
Finally, the King is seated on his throne, above the Stone of Destiny Homage is pledged to him by the Archbishop, his family, and the people.
But will anyone but me focus on the Stone of Destiny? I only learned of it a few days ago.
The origin of the stone has been lost to history, but its earliest mention places it in Scotland. Although unable to be fact-checked, Scottish Kings were said to have been crowned using the Stone since Kenneth MacAlpin received his crown in 843. In 1296, King Edward I of England seized the stone from the Scots. Edward I had a throne built in Westminster Abbey to house the sacred stone. It was first used it in a coronation for his son, Edward II in 1308.
For a long time it was thought to be the stone that Jacob rested his head on in Genesis. That night he dreamed of angels and when he woke, he consecrated the stone to Gd.
In 1998, though, geologists from the British Geological Survey performed detailed examinations of fragments of the stone and determined its origin was not Middle Eastern at all. It was identified as being hewn from the same type of sandstone found in the Scone (pronounce skoon) Sandstone Formation, an outcrop in the area around Scone Palace, in Scotland.
Its name, whether the Stone of Scone, the Coronation Stone, or the Stone of Destiny, begs the question of its power. Some suggest that when King Edward I captured the Stone, it had been switched out so he took the wrong one. The original may have borne the inscription translated to, “If the Destiny proves true, then the Scots are known to have been Kings wherever men find this stone.”
Also unsubstantiated, is the claim that even before that, the Stone was blessed by St. Patrick to be used as a coronation stone for the kings of Ireland. Anyway, no engraving can be seen on the stone now.
Unlike our representative democracy, monarchies pass power from King or Queen to an heir in a structured hierarchy. Does Destiny play a role? Does Fate? Or is it a function of genetics?
Fate and destiny both hold connotations of pre-determination. Ancient Greeks said our paths are chosen by the three Fates and lead us where they will. Fate is the darker side of destiny. Coming from the Latin “that which has been spoken,” fate is what happens when we are not active participants in our own lives. Our fate is sealed when we don’t take responsibility for ourselves.
Destiny also comes from the Latin, but involves more personal action and responsibility. The phrase translates to “that which has been firmly established.” When we fulfill our destiny, we connect to our life-path. We know where we must go and take responsibility for our lives. An element of choice allows us to actively shape our destiny.
So while Charles’s fate was cast from birth to become a king, he can choose to forge his destiny by ruling capably, courageously, and kindly.
Rather than fate or destiny, in today’s quote Gregg’s Heffley based his decisions on his 8 Ball. They are pure chance.
I just started reading nearer my freedom: The Interesting Life of Olaudah Equiano by Himself interpreted by Monica Edinger and Lesley Younge. (Zest Books/Lerner Publishing Group, 2023)
The authors used Equiano’s autobiography as their source to write a “novel-length series of found-verse poems.” (from the Back Matter)
The poems were created by carefully selecting words, phrases, and quotes from Equiano’s text to tell his story of being enslaved, buying his own freedom and his work as an abolitionist. The authors use lyricism and an economy of words. More next week.
-—stay curious! (and take charge)