Those who have little to do with the coronation are the first to celebrate: real estate developers, shopkeepers and snack chefs have already set up tables and benches on the street in an alley in the City of London last Wednesday to persuade the employees from the office towers all around, who otherwise hastily eat their sandwich on the park bench, to have a longer lunch. A luxury London hotel raffled off vouchers for a picnic lunch; the lucky winners now sit in the garden next door around a freshly planted green crown of wood on the lawn and carefully finger raspberry tarts and mini burgers from the cardboard étagères given away.

Johannes Leithäuser

Political correspondent for the United Kingdom and Ireland.

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Many London hotels have been advertising Coronation afternoon teas for days; if you are thirsty, you can order a "Sovereign Martini" at the bar of the Dorchester. At the long table in the office district, three employees of an architectural firm share a bottle of white wine and toast each other. To the king? No, to my colleagues. "The coronation is just a pretext," says one.

The department store chain Marks and Spencer, itself a kind of historical inventory of the British Isles, has been offering a "coronation sauce" in its food department for weeks. It is a type of yellow-colored curry dressing that, as it says on the bottle, can be served "well with chicken and sandwiches". This is aimed at the memory of the nation's housewives, who were surprised 70 years ago, on the coronation of Elizabeth II, with the "Poulet Reine Elizabeth" – it celebrated an ongoing culinary success as "Coronation Chicken".

It's going to take a while

Unfortunately, the sauce doesn't go well with the current coronation dinner presented by Buckingham Palace, a quiche with spinach and broad beans. The palace defends the official dish against all sorts of nose-wrinkles, especially from conservative circles, on the grounds that the vegetable cake has such versatile properties: it can be eaten cold or hot, it is easy to divide among several eaters, takes into account vegetarians and some food allergies, is not difficult to bake and does not require expensive or difficult to obtain ingredients.

In some respects, the quiche symbolizes the entire coronation spectacle. According to the unconditional will of the organizer, this should be so versatile and simple that as many participants and spectators as possible feel addressed and seen. The ceremonial moment is an act of self-assurance of the nation on the one hand and on the other hand also a popularity test for the prestige of this nation in the world. One of Charles III's conclusions was that the celebration had to be smaller than his mother's in 1953. At that time, Great Britain was recovering from the burdens of the Second World War with difficulty, while the disintegration of the Empire had already begun.