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The epitome of grace, dignity and tremendous majesty, Elizabeth II gave a display of composure at her 1953 Coronation that entranced the nation – a solemn and deeply religious ceremony that the young Queen regarded as the start of her life as sovereign.
To the 300 million viewers of what would prove the first globally televised event, which took place 65 years ago this summer, it was a triumph of organisation and planning.
Queen - Royal - Commentator - Alastair - Bruce
Yet as the Queen discloses to Royal commentator Alastair Bruce in a wry – and extremely rare – conversation to be screened on BBC1 on Sunday night, events did not always run smoothly, not least the bone-jarring ride in a golden coach from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey that she describes as ‘horrible’.
She recalls, too, how she was almost brought to a standstill when her heavy ceremonial robes caught on the thick carpets laid in the Abbey. Indeed, for all the undoubted majesty of the occasion, there was a great deal more that did not go to plan in the three-hour ceremony.
Garter - Knights - Canopy - Anointing - Example
The Garter Knights were clumsy with the canopy for the Anointing, for example, and the odd pack of sandwiches fell out of coronets as peers put them on, and at the homage, the 25th Lord Mowbray, Segrave and Stourton stumbled as he walked backwards.
Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone, shared her carriage with Princess Marie Louise, who had been desperately thirsty and poured herself a generous glass of water from a flask and quaffed it down just before they left the Abbey.
Gin - Head - Drive - Coach - Tiara
Unfortunately, it was neat gin and went straight to her head. On the drive back, she nearly fell out of the coach and her tiara slipped as she leaned out of the window.
That the event went as smoothly as it did was perhaps thanks in part to the...
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"Tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive." C.S. Lewis