On May 5 2023, Reddit’s most popular post was to r/pics was a photograph that purported to show “King Charles’ coronation bash site” with the outline of a gigantic cartoon penis mowed into the grass outside:
Posts shared to r/pics are, as the subreddit’s name implies, typically image-based. On Reddit, accounts generally submitted posts in one of three formats (image, link, or text), so posts featuring images often did not also feature links to news stories or other information corroborating the claim.
However, the image appeared on Reddit one day before the long-anticipated coronation of King Charles III. On October 11 2022, Buckingham Palace issued a statement (“The Coronation of His Majesty The King”) via royal.uk:
Buckingham Palace is pleased to announce that the Coronation of His Majesty The King will take place on Saturday 6th May, 2023.
The Coronation Ceremony will take place at Westminster Abbey, London, and will be conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The Ceremony will see His Majesty King Charles III crowned alongside The Queen Consort.
The Coronation will reflect the monarch’s role today and look towards the future, while being rooted in longstanding traditions and pageantry.
Further details will be announced in due course.
Buckingham Palace included a location for the Coronation, Westminster Abbey. A search of news articles led to several about the mowing of a “giant penis,” including a May 4 2023 WalesOnline.com article. It warned first that the page contains an image of what it obliquely referred to as “the damage done,” and reported that the penis was located in the city of Bath:
Pranksters have mown a giant penis into a famous ‘perfect lawn’ on one of Britain’s most exclusive streets – just days before a Coronation party [was scheduled to occur] there. Residents of the posh Royal Crescent in Bath were stunned to see the large phallus on the grass outside their homes today.
The large willy appeared overnight in the Somerset spa town but no-one knows why or who is responsible. It appeared just two days before a large Coronation party is planned for the grounds of The Royal Crescent.
According to The Mirror, the “large Coronation party” was scheduled for May 6 2023 at the bepenised site:
[The giant lawn penis] comes of course ahead of the King’s Coronation on Saturday [May 5 2023] and a party is due to be held on the lawn at the famous Royal Crescent in Bath … The Royal Crescent attracts large numbers of tourists each year and many take in the impeccable lawns and the new feature that has been drawn is in contrast to the surroundings of 18th century Georgian grandeur.
A popular May 5 2023 Reddit post (“Giant penis mowed into the lawn at King Charles’ coronation bash site”) included a photograph matching the title. What was unclear from the title was that while the giant penis marked one “coronation bash” site, it was not the location of the primary ceremony. King Charles III’s coronation was scheduled for May 6 2023 at Westminster Abbey in London, whereas the penis lawn was in Bath, more than a hundred miles (and nearly 200 kilometers) away.