Bad Seeds singer Nick Cave has talked about his “conflicted feelings”—ranging from “extremely bored” to “completely awestruck”—as he attended the coronation of King Charles III earlier this month.
The post-punk legend was invited to Westminster Abbey as part of a group of “outstanding Australians” and decided to accept the invitation despite the reservations of some of his fans.
In an interview with Channel 4 anchor Krishnan Guru-Murthy for the podcast Ways to Change the World, Cave said he is not a royalist and nor is he actually a republican like so many Australians, including Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who led the Australian delegation.
“I went along to the coronation entirely out of curiosity and found the whole thing to be acutely interesting, to say the least,” Cave said. “Because I thought I would feel things when I went to the coronation, but I didn’t know I would feel them in such an extreme way.
“They were conflicted feelings, you know. Sometimes I felt extremely bored, other times completely awestruck by the event, extremely moved by the music—Zadok the Priest [by Handel] was something from outer space—kind of amused by what was going on, angered by what was going on, so it brought up a lot of different things.”
With guests at Westminster Abbey having to arrive well before the day’s key actors—Charles, Camilla, and the other members of the royal family—Cave told how he had found a spot where he could sit alone by a wall to watch the coronation unfold.
Two people came and sat down on either side of him: a young Australian artist of Indigenous origin who was “unbelievably conflicted” at being there and a fiercely monarchist Tory politician who gave Cave a blow-by-blow explanation of what each element of the ceremony meant.
“It was a strange and weirdly moving event, in many different ways,” said Cave, a longtime resident of the English south coast city of Brighton.
Cave had announced he would be attending the coronation on his blog, the Red Hand Files, where he converses with his many fans around the world and answers their questions. The news produced a lot of blowback, including from one fan who wrote, “Why the fuck are you going to the King’s coronation?”
Cave replied: “I am not a monarchist, nor am I a royalist, nor am I an ardent republican for that matter; what I am also not is so spectacularly incurious about the world and the way it works, so ideologically captured, so damn grouchy, as to refuse an invitation to what will more than likely be the most important historical event in the U.K. of our age.
“Not just the most important, but the strangest, the weirdest.”