‘Bunting, a dog show and a sense of shared purpose’

Tom Rogerson explains why he will be celebrating the coronation in style with pupils, staff and parents at Cottesmore School

Tom Rogerson loves the coronation

Joy, excitement, apathy, antipathy: much has been said in the press and on social media about this weekend’s historic coronation of King Charles III.

But as people pitch their tents in Green Park, I can confidently say here at Cottesmore School we are mightily excited about this most royal of weekends – so much so that we are all staying in school for the extraordinary occasion.

The coronation of a monarch is clearly a momentous occasion that can bring people together from all walks of life to mark a new, exciting era in history.

While the official coronation ceremony may be reserved for the royals and dignitaries, the whole community at Cottesmore will honour this event in some unique and often energetic ways. First, we will be watching it together on Saturday in the great hall, a fine venue for the event.

We then have four separate events planned:

The first is a Cottesmore Coronation Sporting Bonanza on Saturday afternoon (good luck to us with the weather). We have invited into siblings, friends, and their guests to come down to Cottesmore, and play sport all afternoon, including tennis, paddle-boarding, cricket and swimming.

There will, of course be a coronation match tea – which will obviously be the highlight of the day. When the guests have finally boarded their carriages and departed, the girls and boys will be watching coronation-themed films while guzzling bowls of popcorn (suggestions on a postcard for the films that they should watch).

On Sunday, we will be heading off to the Historic Royal Palace of Hampton Court – an apt excursion for this royal weekend. A leisurely pace will be upheld in order to doff caps to the “day of rest” sub-theme.

“On Monday from 3pm the chaos begins in earnest.”

Just after lunch on Monday we will reveal the coronation weekend ‘pièce de résistance’ and crowning glory – the unveiling of the newly-acquired Cottesmore Coronation Grand Piano in the drawing room. The best pianists in the school – and we have some eye-wateringly talented keyboardists – will play a concert in front of an elite audience of music aficionados and welcome in a new dawn of musical endeavour at Cottesmore.

After that, on Monday from 3pm the chaos begins in earnest. Hundreds of dogs have been invited to descend upon the 1st XI cricket pitch for an afternoon of canine shenanigans. “Most Regal Dog”, “Waggiest Tail” and “Best Trick” will be some of the most sought-after prizes. We had a dry run at the Jubilee last year and it was an absolute hoot. Barking mad, one might offer.

Alongside the dog-based entertainment we will be running a fundraising fête to raise money for charities The Prince’s Trust and Dogs Trust. I will almost certainly have a sponge, or rather several sponges, thrown at me (my lake-jumping suit will come in handy for that dubious pleasure) and the privilege of being given permission to throw a cold wet sponge at the headmaster’s face will be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

“Celebrating the coronation will bring the community together in a meaningful way.”

I will report back on the sum raised for that particular endeavour; I have a feeling that the two chosen charities will be much better off after the event.

Celebrating the coronation will not only instill a great sense of tradition and history but it will also bring the community together in a fun and meaningful way. By taking part in the festivities, the girls and boys will gain an understanding of the significance of the coronation and the impact that it might have on wider society.

From learning, in history lessons, about the regalia and symbols of monarchy to exploring the cultural traditions surrounding the ceremony, there will be no shortage of educational opportunities that will arise this weekend from the coronation celebrations.

“We will come together and celebrate something that is greater than ourselves.”

This special moment will surely provide a chance for the girls, boys, teachers, families and friends to come together and celebrate something that is greater than ourselves. The sense of shared purpose and belonging will hopefully help to strengthen relationships within the Cottesmore community and consolidate the positive and supportive environment. It will also certainly provide them an opportunity to showcase their talents and creativity.

And, of course, the moment is a great excuse for us all to wheel out our red, white and blue bunting – the most joyous of traditional decorative accessories. Luckily we had a plentiful supply of bunting at our disposal left over from the equally jolly jubilee celebrations last year.

We wish everyone the very best this Coronation Weekend, including those who are attending the ceremony itself. Hopefully we will all remember it for decades to come.

God, save the King!