The real coronation

Long to smarm over us


This article is taken from the May 2023 issue of The Critic. To get the full magazine why not subscribe? Right now we’re offering five issues for just £10.

“Charlie the tailor is on the phone Rish, he wants to know when he can come round for a final fitting,” says Akshata. “And have you decided between lounge suit and morning suit?”

There is going to be something called a coronation, when the country makes a new king. I’m confused about this, because that was what they called it when Rishi became prime minister. But Akshata says this one is different, because they haven’t tried anyone else first. But it’s also the same, because Rishi can’t decide what to wear. Last time it was tie colour, but this time it’s his whole suit.

I’m starting to think I won’t get an invite

“Isaac ran some focus groups,” he says. “But they kept saying they didn’t care and just wanted me to fix some potholes.”

“It’s simple,” says James, who used to write nice things about us in The Times and now just sits around looking sad. “If you want people to look at you and think of John Major, choose a morning suit. If you want them to think of Gordon Brown, go for lounge.” 

“Can’t they look at me and think of a winner?” I don’t think James hears this, because he just stares out of the window. Rishi’s phone pings. “It’s bloody Gavin again,” he says. “He says all our MPs will revolt if he doesn’t have a front-row seat in the Abbey. I’m not sure I like his tone, you know.”

I’ve been wondering what I’ll wear, but I’m starting to think I won’t get an invite. Rishi said something about me being in disgrace after my last outing in Hyde Park. Honestly, you chase one swan and people act like you’ve committed treason.

“It’s bad enough getting the Palace to tell me where I’m going to be sitting,” Rishi says. “Apparently His Majesty takes the view that he’s already on his second prime minister, and they shouldn’t make plans around not getting to number three by May.”

“Oh that’s a bit premature,” mutters James. “I should think you’ll make it to conference.” 

Rishi doesn’t hear. “I suppose we should cut Charles some slack. Imagine spending your life waiting to get a job, and knowing you won’t be doing it for very long. Even worse, you’re completely overshadowed by your predecessor.”

“Yeah,” says James. “Imagine.” 

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