Story and photos Mark Clairmont |

MUSKOKA — Royal watchers will be to bed early tonight and up before dawn tomorrow to watch the crowning of King Charles III.

They won’t likely see the emerald green lights brightening select locations in Gravenhurst, including its town hall and the one Huntsville this weekend.

It’s the first coronation since Queen Elizabeth II — and possibly the last of its magnificent like for more than a decade to come.

Few will have seen the like of what London will witness — save recently for the passing of the Queen and her husband Philip.

But for those in Canada old enough to remember 1953 and black and white TV, this spectacle will — like it or not — rival it in albeit slimmed down pageantry. Smart phones, streaming and big screen TVs hadn’t been thought of then.

In Gravenhurst a chamber of commerce “fancy dress” party at the Terry Fox Auditorium will take on a little air of heraldry to end the day.

I’ll be there in top hat and tails with Lois, whose wealth of historical knowledge and respect includes tomes, news clippings and scrapbooks dating back to Elizabeth II and her Royal Family for centuries before her coronation.

King Charles and Queen Camilla, as of tomorrow, visited Dundurn Castle in Hamilton on Nov. 5, 2009. Photos Mark Clairmont

Whether you’re a monarchist or nationalist, for at least the time being King Charles will reign over us for now. And with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on hand and a carnival-like atmosphere at Ontario’s capital Queen’s Park Saturday many Canadians will still be marking the occasion in public and at home.

Fairly so, since they won’t just be paying respect to a foreign monarch and an aging institution that is on the cusp of rightly changing to recognize an evolving global diaspora after centuries of misguided political leadership that caused considerably great harm.

Royalty is stamped on our mail, money and still ingrained in the DNA of many British descendants and European ancestors.

But for all its lingering faults, the Royal Family has for centuries presided over a British society that has appreciably shaped the world more for good than bad. And colonial slavery aside the balance remains weighted much more decidedly toward the former than the latter in terms of Parliament, science, architecture, machines, health, finance and decorum to name but a few of its world-leading and life-improving achievements.

Charles, the oldest king to ascend Britain’s throne, already appears destined to be a different monarch. Certainly this week reaching out to Canadian First Nations representatives to mend broken fences. Equally so in openly discussing his family’s slave connections.

MuskokaTODAY editor Lois Cooper fulfilled one of her “bucket list” items by seeing a member of the Royal Family at Dundurn Castle. She will be watching Saturday’s coronation and later celebrating it at a dinner at the Gravenhurst’s Terry Fox Auditorium.

However, his greatest role in his short time ahead wearing the crown may be his moral influence around climate change of which he has practised what he preaches.

MuskokaTODAY editor Lois and I witnessed that briefly on Nov. 5, 2009, when she ticked off one of her “bucket list” items to see a member of the Royal Family.

She joined me at work when I was at the Hamilton Spectator and we stayed overnight at the Admiral Inn across the street from Dundurn Castle on Lake Ontario.

Prince Charles, then, and Duchess of Corwall Camilla planted a tree at the home of one of her ancestors.

She is a descendant of Sir Allan Napier MacNab, her great-great-great-grandfather, who built Dundurn Castle in 1835. MacNab, who was Canada’s pre-Confederation prime minister from 1854 to 1856, helped suppress the Upper Canada Rebellion of 1837 for which he was knighted in 1838 by Queen Victoria.

The tree planting was a small, but symbolic gesture. It highlighted his intense interest in the physical planet and its impact for the good on the lives of everyone globally and not just the Commonwealth.

Now if he can use his new position to sway other world leaders about global warming he will be off to a good start.

And that crowning moment begins officially between 6 and 8 a.m. (our time) if you’re up for it.

So green may be the appropriate colour for his coronation that’s lighting up the world this weekend.

The Brits have done many times over. And King Charles can do it again.

The Prince of Wales waters a tree after planting it – a symbolic gesture, but a large one for the committed global environmentalist.
Camilla and Charles were popular visitors wading into the crowd and engaging them in conversations at her great-great-great grandfather’s Hamilton home.
Charles is seen behind a tree while on a balcony at Dundurn Castle 14 years ago.
The king-to-be, seen in a good light here, hopes to bask in the same glow as he ascends the British throne tomorrow.
MuskokaTODAY editor Lois Cooper wrote about her ‘Royal watching, Muskoka style’ following a trip to Ireland with here daughter Melissa in 2009.


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