'I think people are excited': Coronation anticipation ahead of King Charles' historic day

By Chris CampbellCTV Windsor, May 11, 2023

Royal souvenirs are in high demand at Blimeys British Store & Gift Shop in Essex, Ont. — where royalists have been purchasing commemorative things in the days and weeks leading up to King Charles’ coronation.

“We're a little bit low right now,” said Mark Hulme, whose father owns the store.

“I think people are excited,” Hulme explained. “A lot of people are going to be throwing early morning parties, so they're going to have their tea and their different British foods and they've got the English bunting hanging up and I think people are going be celebrating King Charles.”

Hulme said his dad, Carl, was in England by chance when Queen Elizabeth died in September and brought back many items like fine bone china and tea towels to stock the family store.

“We will have some more products arriving after the coronation, but because they are made in England, they weren't prepared ahead of time. So these products are being made right now and they'll probably be arriving in the next few weeks.”

According to Hulme, media outlets from around the world have been contacting the store, gaging local perception of the Royal Family in Canada.

“We had the Washington Post, actually, yesterday reach out to us just to see what's going on with the Charles products,” he said. “It was funny, the guy actually said he Googled ‘British Store’ and we were the first one that came up so he gave us a call.”

Despite the new sovereign’s low popularity compared to his mother’s and recent family drama attracting unwanted attention, Hulme believes people are excited to see history in the making.

“I will be getting up!” Hulme exclaimed. “I don't know if it's going to be at four in the morning, but I'm going to try to catch some of the precession and all the different things that are going to be going on. It'll be interesting to see.”

“I think people are excited just to see what a coronation is going to be like because, I mean, for the most part, people haven't had a chance to experience that before.”

Meanwhile, Museum Windsor has a new exhibit inside the Francois Baby House.

“We've added to our Queen's Jubilee exhibits, which has now kind of become an In Memoriam to the Queen,” said museum assistant Nicole Chittle.

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Nicole Chittle, museum assistant at Duff Baby House, in Windsor, Ont. on Wednesday, May 3, 2023. (Chris Campbell/CTV News Windsor)

“We've added some panels to talk about Charles' life and his family, which we of course know about, but just to get a little more in depth about our soon-to-be new monarch.”

Chittle said, “I think it's very interesting because it's been since 1953 that we had the last coronation. Most people haven't seen a coronation in their lifetime. The Queen's coronation was the first ever to be televised, colour television! And now this will be the first streamed on social media.”

While there are no formal City of Windsor functions to commemorate the May 6 event, Chittle believes the day will be memorable.

“I think it's very interesting to see and watch how the history unfolds,” she said. “I mean, people have many different opinions and interests in it and we're just here to record all of that history and keep it for future generations.”

Western University Professor of public history, Michelle Hamilton believes a lack of formal events across Canada is a reflection of the modern monarchy.

“It's funny actually, because I was just saying to my student that it seems rather quiet,” Hamilton said.

“Less formal, I think is part of what they're trying to portray anyway. That they are a less formal generation and they're trying to raise their children as close to normal citizens as possible, in a way for less media scrutiny as possible. So I think Canadian are responding to that. I think Canadians understand why people raising a family would want to have that sort of more casual, less formal away from the media kind of atmosphere for their kids.”

Hamilton suspects a recent surge in sales of Royal items amongst Canadian monarchists can be attributed to nostalgia, noting time will tell what Charles’ legacy will be.

“You know, they're linking the past and the present together,” Hamilton said. “But really, the focus is still Queen Elizabeth, rather than King Charles, which is an interesting comment, I think.”