Junior Department

9 May 2023

Celebrating the King’s Coronation at St Helen’s

Celebrations were in full swing on Friday 5 May, with a whole school lunchtime garden party in the Quad to mark the Coronation of King Charles III.

Staff and students from all years gathered together to honour the occasion with a delicious picnic, accompanied by great weather and even better music performed by Big Band in Old School Hall. The picnic was undoubtedly a great way to kick off an exciting long weekend of festivities!

In Chapel, Revd Dr Karen Hyde provided a moving sermon that asked students to consider ‘Kingship’ in relation to the Bible, citing Matthew 20: 26–28 – Jesus said, “Whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

And, to mark the special occasion, our own Sixth Form St Helen’s Laureate, Constance, has created a piece of prose to reflect on the crowning of a new monarch – read her piece below:

The robes are taken from their glass case, museum relics resuscitated, propped up by mannequins in a rehearsal for the day as Time and Tradition take their seats in the fitting rooms. Tradition screws its eyes to each hem, examining the stitching, the cut. Time’s scratching, scraping fingers wear holes as it feels the weight of the fabric. Even what is new is in the image of the old, and no detail will go unaccounted for.

Tradition ticks over checklists, revised and re-revised, seating plans in a time-old hierarchy, while Time watches the benches’ legs wearing dimples into the stone. Every item has its place, a myriad of invisible chalk lines across the paving stones, measuring steps, speed, angles and position, allowing neat gaps for the cameras to whirr at their dedicated times. Even God will fall in line and obey, even he has his place. There will be no room for miracles, the water and the wine strictly separate.

Some alterations will be made, a downsizing of the fanfare, a little less ceremony required by those attending, but for the central pieces, the clockwork routine remains. The smaller cogs at the edges may tick on by within their boundaries, but in the centre the gears take up their old positions, relearn their mechanics, the great key winding and winding until the time comes to let the performance run its course. The children who carry the robes are merely taking their parents’ places, and them their grandparents, so that the handprints on the fabric never differ. Whatever can be maintained must, and if the original cannot be found, a replica will be made. There can be no room for error, say Time and Tradition to each other, as Time drags its eyes across the floor of the church, scoring lines into the flagstones.

When it is set all in place there is still more to be done. The waiting must begin, the observing, the hushed silence before the places are taken but while the stage is set. The work will not be over until the church is empty once more and the lines that held everything in place dissolved. Only when the details become lost will it end, only when the cameras widen their view to make the carriage a match head, rolling through a matchbook city, crimson colour snagged on the camera’s tape. And only when the church bells can’t be heard with distance do the last two visitors leave the church, Time watching footprints erode the soft stone while Tradition marks down what was done.

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