I think the Sun has yet to fully set on the British Empire

Britain’s King Charles III wearing the Imperial state Crown, and carrying the Sovereign’s Orb and Sceptre leaves Westminster Abbey after the Coronation Ceremonies in central London on May 6, 2023.PHOTO | AFP

Last Saturday afternoon I was with my usual drinking mates at our local watering hole comfortably having our normal weekend - lager downing session, and discussing the usual manly topics, including football and the following day's Simba vs Azam match, when our long lost friend walked in.

He was happy to see us and wondered as to what we were up to. Quenching our thirst and talking football off course, we told him.

Well you guys seem not to be aware of what is happening right now on this day. An important event is taking place in London, he told us. Naturally we were all at a loss as to what this important day and event were all about.

That is when he proudly announced that on that day and at that very moment the coronation of King Charles of the United Kingdom and 14 other realms, as well as the Commonwealth, was taking place in London. Wow! How did we miss that?

But then the era of the "Empire on which the sun never set," as the British used to call themselves, was long gone. However, we are still in the Commonwealth and we should have been very aware of this day. After the death of the Queen late last year we hazily remembered that the coronation was set for this month but not the exact date.

That is when I remembered that I started schooling in 1961, a few months before we gained Independence from the British. And I still do recall having been taught to sing fluently - and we sang every morning before class - the British anthem, "God Save the Queen." In my tiny 'native' mind I then thought that this Queen was somewhere in heaven and was in serous trouble which called for God's intervention.

Well as it happens the British still have a lot of global clout with them. To start with, last week's grand coronation ceremony was attended by more than 2,200 invited VIP guests from all over the world.

Apart from members of the Royal family itself the ceremony was attended by monarchs from Monaco, Japan, Denmark, Sweden, Spain, Norway, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Greece, Belgium, Bhutan, Thailand, Tonga and Jordan

Others were from Malaysia, Liechtenstein, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Oman, Brunei and Morroco. From black Africa we had monarchs from Eswatini, Ghana and Lesotho.

Then there were about 40 heads of states from all over the world, with black Africa sending three. Other countries were represented by their Ambassadors and High Commissioners accredited to London.

Apart from these invitees there were religious leaders, members of the nobility, and celebrities including my favourite music star, Lionel Richie. Tens of thousands of Britons and visitors were around Buckingham Palace, to cheer the monarch.

But also around were hundreds of republicans protesting against the monarch. Fifty - two of them were in due course arrested for affray, public order offences, breach of peace and conspiracy to cause public nuisance. They are campaigning to abolish the monarch and replace it with an elected head of state.

"I came not to be served but to serve" King Charles said in his first prayer. The King was also screened from the public for the anointing part, as this is seen as the most sacred of the proceedings. Historically this has been regarded by the British as 'a moment between sovereign and God.'

However the part which I found most interesting was when the Bible lesson of the day was read by Rish Sunak, the British Prime Minister, who is Hindu and originally from Pakistan and his family once lived in Tanzania before migrating to Britain. Indeed times have changed!

From all this, I think the Sun has yet to fully set on the British Empire!