Now that Covid has blown itself out, perhaps we are seeing those old, familiar accoutrements of the British state and re-discovering their absurdity. The state opening of the UK Parliament and its esoteric symbolism has been with us for centuries but somehow yesterday’s ceremonials seemed uniquely ridiculous.

Was that really the Imperial State Crown – encrusted with priceless diamonds – being carried to a large black Rolls Royce on its own cushion before being driven to Westminster? Were those two royal footmen who accompanied it on its journey there to guard it from an assassination attempt or merely to mitigate the incongruity of watching an inanimate object being received like a visiting head of state?

The veneration of the queen’s ceremonial headgear could command its own spin-off, especially as Her Majesty seems to be permanently under the weather these days. “And there’s the queen’s hat,” whispers Clive Myrie, commentating for the BBC, “being presented to the assembled stars of stage and screen as they all bow and lean in close for a private word.”

And afterwards the Beeb’s royal correspondent, Nicholas Witchell might catch up with Bono and Sir Cliff Richard and ask them what the crown jewels had said to them. “I’m afraid that must always remain between me and them,” says Bono reverently.

And look, there’s a division of the Household Guard being led on a search of the cellar for any dodgy-looking Catholics that might be lurking, ready to spring out and kidnap yon crown. This is supposed to mimic the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 when a group of aristocratic Fenians had tried to blow up Parliament in a bid to stop the routine evisceration and disembowelling of their fellows.

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