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What will Charles III’s reign look like?

The last time a monarch acceded to the throne, her subjects had to wait ten months to hear her speak. Elizabeth II was only 25 and had her whole adult life before her. The public were more patient in those days and the media was an entirely different creature, moving at a slower pace.  It

I demand reparations for my ancestors’ fall from grace

Recent births and deaths in my family have got me thinking about the family tree. A few years ago, we pieced together a remarkably discernible lineage that goes right back to William the Conqueror, or at least his alleged Anglo-Saxon concubine, and various Norman knights who used to own much of England. And it is

Will my coronation marching measure up?

Travelling to Ukraine on the President’s train is the most secure route into Kyiv. This is my fourth visit to the country since the invasion. Previously I accompanied Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak. This time I am with Tim Barrow, our National Security Adviser. The continuity of access reflects the extraordinary trust between Britain and

The religious roots of the coronation

It is many years since anyone seriously entertained the doctrine expounded by Shakespeare’s Richard II: ‘Not all the water in the rough rude sea can wash the balm off from an anointed king. The breath of worldly men cannot depose the deputy elected by the Lord.’ Nevertheless, on Saturday King Charles III will be solemnly

The battle to restore Britain’s hedgerows

‘I don’t know if hedgelaying is a dying art. But there’s a lot of old hedgelayers that are dying,’ says David Whitaker to chuckles from some of his fellow craftsmen. The occasion is the annual hedgelaying championship, organised by the National Hedgelaying Society, of which Whitaker is secretary. In a good year, the event draws

The godfather of AI: why I left Google

Ten minutes before I meet Geoffrey Hinton, the ‘godfather of AI’, the New York Times announces he’s leaving Google. After decades working on artificial intelligence, Hinton now believes it could wipe out humanity. ‘It is like aliens have landed on our planet and we haven’t quite realised it yet because they speak very good English,’

Notes on...

The mystical power of the coronation spoon

A spoon may seem too homely for grand ceremony. It might even, in this sceptical and utilitarian age, seem slightly ridiculous. This prompts the question of how, or whether, we value ancient traditions and ceremonies whose original meanings and power are largely lost to us. And if we do value them, why? This particular spoon,