LAST Saturday, my toddler was woken from his afternoon with a chorus of, ‘You can shove your coronation up your *rse’. A choir rising up from the stands of Hampden Park voices united in an ensemble piece.

The first time I ever saw Buckingham Palace, I was riding at the front of a red double decker bus with my mum. We had everything we owned in bags at our feet because we were newly homeless having fled from Aberdeen and a violently abusive ex-boyfriend who’d managed to find us again. That day, having been given a short shrift from my dad without even getting off the doorstep, we were on that bus going towards Victoria coach station in the hope of finding a more accommodating city.

My mum was keen on trying to make things an adventure even if her adventure that day was homelessness and a coach trip to Canterbury, the furthest fare we could afford, where we'd end up living in B&Bs shelters for a year. But turning the corner we saw the always impressive spectacle of Buckingham Palace.

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My mum said to me, ‘The Queen lives there’. I asked her if we could go in and she said no, but next time, if we gave her enough notice to get the good biscuits in, ‘the Queen would have me around for tea.’

I believed her and 37 years later, I finally got that invite to Buckingham Palace for tea. It came in an impossibly thick envelope embossed with a coat of arms and with golden edges. I was being invited to a reception to commemorate a writing project I'd been part of the previous year.

Initially, I thought why not? I'm a writer and deeply curious about all new experiences.

Specifically, I wanted to know if they have fancy toilet paper and how good would the free cake actually be? Besides this, I reasoned, how many girls who grew up on Coatbridge and Airdrie schemes get to go to Buckingham Palace? And isn't it important that young people from backgrounds like mine can see a grown woman who started out like themselves standing next to her new queen?

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So I shrugged off my reservations, RSVP’d and ordered a selection of appropriate outfits. This apparently meant below the knee, modest and muted colours and low heeled shoes, appropriately called court shoes, that do in fact date back to the royal court in the 17th century. Think mother of the bride. Think very much not me, with my pink hair, glitter-rainbow vomit clothes palette and a collection of biker jackets.

As the day approached, I felt more and more uneasy about my decision.

How could I stand in a building literally gilded on the backs of an oppressive and exploitative institution? I spent my whole career, first a decade working for NGOs, and then as a writer, trying to raise awareness of the long lasting, deeply harmful impact of poverty and how those who are comfortable are complicit and benefit from it too.

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And now, I would go and drink out of fancy tea cups with the ultimate wealth-sucking, inequality figureheads of this injustice? In the end, I decided no, that's not me. I'd rather tell my little boy that I refused an invitation to Buckingham Palace than accepted one. That if I went I would be no role model at all for the kids growing up like I did.

I did go to London. I ran through the rain arm-in-arm with my best friend who I hadn’t seen since pre-pandemic. I saw my god kids and cuddled them until they were dizzy. I visited my old flat above a kebab shop where I wrote my first ever short story. I went and drank a coffee in the community garden where I first realised I was in love with my friend who's now my husband.

I continue to be astounded by just how tone deaf the coronation celebrations are. Like a stick of rock with the words, ‘actually immoral’ running right through it.

A record near three million emergency food parcels were handed out at Food Banks by March this year with those for children topping a million for the first time.

We’re a country that hasn’t had our heating on all winter, people have been desperately trying to cook bean stew by wrapping pots in blankets, kids are going hungry every single day.

Now is not the time for a big fancy, entirely unnecessary party. Even my god kid, a very smart nine year old, has read enough fairytales to know that good Kings are well loved by their subjects. But this is not a good King or a good institution and they’ll be lucky if they don’t have riots instead of street parties.

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Imagine the estimated £100 million cost of the coronation being used for anything, anything at all, more useful?

School supplies, nurses' pay rises, a lovely fat check through the letterbox for our poorest and most overstretched after a hard winter?

Yes, it's tradition, but so were stocks and hanging in public squares and we managed to see the error of our ways there. Besides this, King Charles has a private estate that yielded more than £1 billion in the past. If he is very keen on a big party and showing off his gold hat then, honestly, he can pay for it himself.

The last straw on this donkey’s back, for surely the Royals must think we're all donkeys at this stage, is that we've been asked to pledge allegiance in our living rooms to the king. Madness. I've got a toddler so sadly I won't be bellowing, ‘You can shove your coronation up your a*se*’ at the top of my lungs as much as I'd like to but I might just hum along.

By the way, I did get another royal invite this year to the Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey with a full chess set of Royals in attendance. That invite went unanswered. I guess like those frumpy mother of the bride dresses and sensible heels, bootlicker just isn’t a good look, even for free cake.

3 million foodbank users: