Day 215: Coronation Gala

 The facts

The Outlaws had all entered fully into the spirit of the coronation. Ginger had brought a wooden cart for the coronation coach, Douglas had brought a poker and football for sceptre and orb, and Henry – ever well informed – had brought some motor oil in a small tin that he had taken from the garage. “You’ve gotter have it poured over you,” he explained to William. “They always do.”

  • Number: 19.9
  • Published: 1937 (same year in magazine form) – originally titled William Plays the King
  • Book: William the Showman
  • Synopsis: William appoints himself king and begins quelling rebellions.


The 1937 coronation is a big event in William’s village. A whole day of festivities is planned, and William – perhaps not realising that it is George VI’s coronation and not his own – is determined to turn up in costume as a king.

He has vague plans to ‘borrow’ a king costume of Robert’s, while Robert is preoccupied with his relationship with Dahlia Macnamara (William and the Wonderful Present, 18.1) – who is now toying with the affections of Jameson Jameson (cf A Little Affair of Rivalry, 14.10)

“What do they do
nowadays –kings, I mean?”
“Oh, they jus’ go about visitin’ an’ openin’ things.”
“Well, I’m not goin’ to be one of those,” said William firmly. “I’m goin’ to be the sort they had in hist’ry what put down rebels an’ suchlike.”
“There aren’t any rebels, nowadays,” said Henry.
“I bet there are. Nat’rally they don’t go about sayin’ they’re rebels.”

Unfortunately Dahlia has requested that Robert accompany her to the fête in exactly the costume that William has just abstracted. Running out of time, Robert is forced to turn up wearing William’s early home-made attempt at royalwear (a red tablecloth with a hole cut in it).

But William is much too busy to worry about any of that, because he sees a “rebel” butcher tearing up a sheet of paper – obviously a secret map – and gives chase…

These two strands of the story converge, rather oddly, with Robert managing to get off with the local MP’s daughter, so all is well.