Horrible carriage, unwieldy crowns: Queen Elizabeth’s candid views of coronation and royal jewels

LONDON (Reuters) – Speaking for the primary time about her coronation 65 years in the past, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth has revealed how uncomfortable driving in her golden carriage to the ceremony was and the way carrying the Imperial State Crown risked “breaking your neck”.

FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Queen Elizabeth walks via the Royal Gallery within the Palace of Westminster through the State Opening of Parliament in London, Britain, May 25, 2010. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor/File Photo

Elizabeth, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, was topped queen on June 2, 1953 at London’s Westminster Abbey, in a historic, grand service whose origins date again 1,000 years.

In a really uncommon, private account for a BBC documentary to be aired on Sunday, she speaks candidly in regards to the event and among the Crown Jewels which play a symbolic function within the ceremony.

“Horrible,” she mentioned of the trip within the four-tonne carriage from Buckingham Palace to the abbey the place English monarchs have been topped since 1066. “It’s only sprung on leather, not very comfortable.”

Elizabeth, now 91, was simply 25 when she turned queen on the dying of her father George VI in 1952, with the coronation going down the next yr.

“It’s the sort of I suppose the beginning of one’s life really as a sovereign,” she mentioned. “It is sort of a pageant of chivalry and old-fashioned way of doing things really. I’ve seen one coronation (her father’s in 1937) and been the recipient in the other, which is pretty remarkable.”

Giving her private recollection, the queen additionally reveals how she had struggled together with her coronation costume, which was embroidered in silk with pearls, and gold and silver thread.

“I remember one moment when I was going against the pile of the carpet and I couldn’t move at all,” she mentioned.

The documentary additionally options casual footage taken behind the scenes, together with photos of son and inheritor Prince Charles, then aged 4, and his youthful sister Anne enjoying beneath the queen’s lengthy gown.

“Not what they’re meant to do,” the queen quips.


Britain’s Queen Elizabeth waits earlier than delivering her speech within the House of Lords, through the State Opening of Parliament on the Palace of Westminster in London May eight, 2013. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Charles has beforehand revealed how his mom had practiced carrying the two.2 kg (four.9 lb) St Edward’s Crown whereas he was being bathed.

Elizabeth wore two crowns for the event: the St Edward’s Crown, which she has by no means worn since, and the diamond-encrusted Imperial State Crown which she wears at formal events such because the opening of parliament when she delivers a speech outlining the government’s legislative plans.

“You can’t look down to read the speech, you have to take the speech up. Because if you did, your neck would break and it (the crown) would fall off,” she mentioned smiling. “So there are some disadvantages to crowns but otherwise they’re quite important things.”

FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Queen Elizabeth earlier than the State Opening of Parliament within the House of Lords in London, Britain, May 27, 2015. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett/File Photo

The documentary exhibits her peering inquisitively after which grinning as she faucets at pearls hanging on the 1 kg (2.three lb) crown, two of that are mentioned to have been purchased by her Tudor namesake Queen Elizabeth I.

“They were meant to be Queen Elizabeth’s earrings,” she mentioned. “They don’t look very happy now. Most pearls like to be living creatures so they’ve just been hanging out here for years which is rather sad.”

Elizabeth has by no means given a proper interview throughout her lengthy reign and Coronation skilled Alastair Bruce, whom the queen spoke to for this system, mentioned their 1-1/2-hour interplay had been a “conversation”.

“You don’t ask the queen a direct question, so you pose a comment that the queen then responds to,” he informed reporters.

He mentioned he had the impression the queen was most likely not keen on the heavy crown and was “very practical” in her treatment of the crown jewels.

He cited how throughout their dialog the crown had been barely out of the queen’s attain so he requested the crown jeweler to assist transfer the desk it was on a bit nearer.

Instead, the queen herself pulls the desk in direction of her.

Bruce mentioned: “If you look very closely, the table suddenly just goes ‘woomf’ and the crown ‘woomf’ and the crown jeweler is left there with nothing and she says ‘well you know, it’s my crown.’”

Editing by Stephen Addison

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