Queen Elizabeth II Reveals Rare Secrets from Her Coronation Ceremony She Withheld For 65 Years
On 2nd June 1953 the world was greeted with a stately and elaborate spectacle as an English Monarch’s coronation was being televised and broadcasted for the first time on radio and television much to the chagrin of the then Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Queen Elizabeth II rode in a golden state coach down from Buckingham Palace past the mall, across Trafalgar Square and to Westminster Abbey.
1A coronation ceremony full of pomp and pageantry
She was decked in all her finery complete with scepter, orb and a huge heavy crown on her head. Many may have thought how Elizabeth then just 27 at the time might have been so proud of that eventful moment. After all she was to become the Queen of England. What did she feel, what was her opinion about the whole thing? Now finally in an interview, the queen reveals coronation secrets she kept within her for 65 years.
2What the queen revealed about her coronation day
Imagine you having to wear the entire day a heavy brocade lined outfit. On top of that a heavy red velvet robe, decked in jewels, then walk down an aisle with a scepter and an orb and a heavy thingamajig oh well!! A crown equally heavy with jewels on your head. Would you feel comfortable? Obviously not! And Queen Elizabeth reveals how she hated it.
3She disliked the entire carriage ride
Yes!! Queen Elizabeth the II disliked her coronation ceremony because of the discomfort it caused her. Speaking in an hour long interview to BBC one, where she recollected memories of her coronation, She described how the carriage ride was horrible as the “only sprung on leather.” The lack of suspension made it extremely uncomfortable.
4King George VI also disliked the carriage
Even her Father King George VI was reported to have remarked how uncomfortable the carriage was.
5Her crown was more than twelve pounds
The crown that the Queen wore for her coronation was the same that was worn by her father King George VI although she mentioned that for him it was later at the time. However it fitted on both their heads as George shared a similar head size with Elizabeth.
“Fortunately, my father and I have about the same sort of shaped head,” the Queen says in the interview about the crown. “But once you put it on, it stays; I mean it just remains on.” The exact weight of the state crown is 12 lbs.13 oz or 1.28 kgs
The Imperial state crown was made for King George the VI
The imperial state crown was made for the Queen’s father King George the VI coronation in 1937. It is set with 2,868 diamonds, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds and hundreds of pearls.
6It could break your neck
The Queen revealed that the crown was so heavy for her that when she read her speech, she had to keep the page lifted up higher as looking down could make the crown fall off and she could have even broken her neck.
“You can’t look down to read the speech, you have to take the speech up; because if you did your neck would break, it would fall off,” She said in the interview.
7Humorous memories of her coronation
In the exclusive interview the Queen recollected memories of her coronation even as she was given to watch video and visual excerpts from the day itself. She recollected how her dress even got caught on the carpet. She reflected on what it was like to witness a coronation as well as receiving one herself.
She said: “I remember one moment when I was going against the pile of the carpet and I couldn’t move at all.”
8What she had to say
In her words “It is sort of a pageant of chivalry and old-fashioned way of doing things, really,” she recounted. “I’ve seen one coronation and been the recipient in the other, which is pretty remarkable, It’s sort of, I suppose, the beginning of one’s life really as a sovereign,” She added.
Apart from the queen’s revelation of which more will be aired on the BBC One’s exclusive documentary, here are some more interesting facts about her coronation.
The documentary, to be aired on BBC One is part of a Royal Collection Season created between Royal Collection Trust and the BBC showcasing details of the Royal family’s life and the collection itself.
9Winston Churchill opposed broadcasting the coronation
Princess Elizabeth as she was known before her coronation was quite a tech savvy woman. She was determined to broadcast her ceremony against the wishes of Prime Minister Churchill. The coronation went on to be watched by 20 million people worldwide. The pomp and grandeur of the ceremony even influenced the sale of television sets which skyrocketed after the event.
10She had a good luck charm woven into her gown
The trusted courtier Sir Norman Hartnell collaborated with the queen to create a gown in the finest white duchess satin which was embroidered with floral patterns and emblems in gold and silver thread. The emblems were symbols of the commonwealth. Without the queen’s knowledge, Hartnell included a four leaf shamrock on the left of the skirt positioned so well that her hand would be resting on it the whole time.
11Special staff and footmen
Because there was a serious shortage of footmen required for the event, many millionaire businessmen and squires offered their services to work as the queen’s servants for the day guiding guests during the ceremony.
12Footage of Prince Charles and Princess Anne
The documentary also included some behind-the-scenes footage of the grand event like Prince Charles, Princess Anne, on the day of their mother’s coronation.
13Footage was flown across the Atlantic
Royal Air force bomber jets called Canberras were used to fly the footage across the Atlantic to deliver it to the Canadian broadcast Company who could air the same. The flight went on to become the first nonstop transatlantic flight between the United Kingdom and Canada.
14The first man to swear allegiance to the queen
That was her husband prince Phillip. Once she was lifted onto her throne, his words of allegiance were “I Philip, do become your liege man of life and limb, and of earthly worship; and faith and truth I will bear unto you, to live and die, against all manner of folks. So help me God.” After this he kissed the crown and on her left cheek.
The Queen’s coronation secrets are revealed on the BBC One interview to be aired on Sunday 13th Jan at 8pm GMT.