Coronation Derby

May 17, 2023

Saturday, May 6th was a big day! It happened to feature both King Charles III’s coronation in London AND The Kentucky Derby here in the USA. I couldn’t help but notice the parallels: 

*Kentucky Derby is billed as the first of the Triple Crown

*Charles got his first (though only) crown too

*Both were televised, for optimum celebrity-watching fun

*Both involved trumpets/bugles

*Both were attended by women wearing ridiculous hats

*One at site of Churchill Memorial

*Other at Churchill Downs

*Family inspired a hit show

*One of the horses named “Hit Show”

*Commemorated with minted coins

*Celebrated with mint juleps

*Neither involved Meghan Markle

Here’s where they differed:

The Royal to-do lasted almost four hours

The horse race lasted three minutes, give or take

Wouldn’t it have been much better if they just switched durations? I know by the time I settled down in my recliner, mint julep at the ready, the Derby was OVER, whereas the festivities in Westminster Abbey were so long that I was able to take a shower, scramble an egg, and start some laundry going, before Chuck and Camilla even pulled up to the door in that gaudy Kingmobile!

Besides the opening fanfare, all the music on offer at Churchill Downs were the mellifluous strains of “My Old Kentucky Home.”

Whereas the London spectacle was chock-filled with tunes, from Handel, to a gospel choir, to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new song (forget what it was called, but possibly--“Music of the Knight?”)

The Derby run was narrated by apoplectic announcers, hyperventilating as they called every second of the race—annoying, but it did add energy. It would have been veddy cool if a BBC personality was giving a breathless coronation play-by-play: “Here comes the scepter. Here comes the orb. Why are they giving this stuff to him and then taking it all away? And the poor Queen Consort, that crown is definitely squishing the royal hairdo!” As it was, even the hoi polloi in the pews were nodding off, snoring genteelly.

Granted, kings and queens are anointed only once every 10-70 years (give or take), and the Kentucky Derby happens annually. But I think they can still learn from one another, don’t you?

Here are my thoughts (you knew they were coming, right?)

The Coronation should be MUCH SHORTER, and the Derby MUCH LONGER. Think of it: a snappy 10 minute ceremony, one verse of “God Save the King,” a few well-chosen words from the Archbishop of Canterbury, here are the robes, here are the crowns, off to the jolly afterparties!

On the flip side, let’s make this Louisville thing a real race, shall we? Like the Indy 500, only equine! Jockeys tuning up at pitstops, the occasional horse going up in flames, etc. 

Finally, there’s NO reason the Coronation has to happen at 6 AM. I know it’s much later in the UK, but who cares? America First!

Filling out my comment card now. Look for some significant changes in the future!


    I am an author (of five books, numerous plays, poetry and freelance articles,) a retired director (of Spiritual Formation at a Lutheran church,) and a producer (of five kids).

    I write about my hectic, funny, perfectly imperfect life.

    Please visit my website: or email me at



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