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Nama:Queen Elizabeth II's coronation: Secrets behind the big day that thrilled Great Britain
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Publicado em 10 de jan de 2018

Queen Elizabeth II's coronation: Secrets behind the big day that thrilled Great Britain

In a new documentary the Queen reveals the “horrible journey” she endured to Westminster Abbey on June 2, 1953, and the “disadvantages” of the crowns she wore

SIXTY-FIVE years ago this June, as her expectant subjects awaited breathlessly for her to become their new sovereign, the 27-year-old Princess Elizabeth was in fact having a profoundly uncomfortable time as she travelled from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey.

And things didn't improve once she got up close to the crown jewels inside.

It might have been the perfect tonic for a post-war nation but for the young woman at its heart it has now emerged that the first televised coronation on June 2, 1953, watched by millions around the world, presented certain personal challenges.

Filmed for a new documentary, watching archive footage of her younger self travelling in the Gold State Coach on an unseasonally cold early summer's day, the Queen confesses that the lack of suspension in the gilded vehicle was a very real issue.

"Horrible," she recalls. "It's only sprung on leather. Not very comfortable." Modern royal coaches, such as the Diamond Jubilee Coach, have electric windows, heating and hydraulic stabilisers. Not so the State Coach, which will be 258 years old this year.

The interior may be lined with velvet and satin but such materials apparently do little to cushion a monarch's posterior when the braces of the coach in question are slung with nothing more than inflexible animal hide.

And the Queen is not the only passenger to have found it a bumpy experience. King William IV, a former naval officer who came to the throne in 1830, said it was like being on board a ship "tossing in a rough sea". Queen Victoria, more generously upholstered than our present Queen, complained of the "distressing oscillation" of the cabin and often refused to ride in it, while the current Queen's father, George VI, said that the journey to his coronation was "one of the most uncomfortable rides I have ever had in my life".

And the coach wasn't the only problem. The coronation crown also presented particular problems.

"There are some disadvantages to the crowns, but otherwise, they're quite important things," says the Queen. While a clip to promote the documentary does not specify what those disadvantages are, others have previously told of their heavy weight.

The Queen has only once worn the St Edward's Crown, which was placed on her head at the moment of coronation, but as it weighs nearly 5lb it clearly made an unforgettable impression, in more ways than one. Destroyed after the English Civil War, this crown with an extraordinary history was remade for the coronation of Charles II in 1661. The original was thought to date back to the 11th-century royal saint, Edward the Confessor - the last Anglo-Saxon king of England - but it was melted down in 1649 by the Parliamentarians.

And it wasn't just the weight of the crown on the young Queen's shoulders three centuries later: the hopes of a nation were also bearing down upon her as the country looked to her to lead them into a new era in the post-war years. It was, she says: "The beginning of one's life really, as a sovereign."

Viewing both private and official film footage, as well as the crown jewels themselves to mark the 65th anniversary of her coronation this summer, the documentary includes the Queen's personal and intimate insights into the remarkable working treasures that symbolise sovereignty and the monarch's link to the people.

Kept under the watchful eye of the Yeoman Warders at the Tower of London, the coronation regalia are the most visited objects in Britain, and possibly the world. The cost of remaking the 11 principal pieces in the 17th century following the Civil War - including the coronation crown, state crown, orb, sceptre, swords, spurs, ring and bracelets - was estimated at some £13,000, or as much as three fully-equipped warships at that time. They are part of 140 items in total, which together contain no fewer than 23,000 precious stones.

And it turns out that the Queen has her favourites.

In the documentary she is seen identifying an apparent favoured gem in the form of the Black Prince's Ruby, which adorns the Imperial State Crown, probably the best-known item among the crown jewels. Worn at the State Opening of Parliament, this crown is also placed upon the new monarch's head at the conclusion of the coronation service - the main elements of which have remained largely unchanged for a millennium. Performed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the ceremony sees the monarch anointed with holy oil and invested with regalia, including both crowns.

"I've seen one coronation, and been the recipient in the other, which is pretty remarkable," muses the Queen as she recalls the day her 11-year-old self witnessed the coronation of her father in 1937. But she was clearly not amused by the antics of her own


Dipublikasikan:10 Januari 2018
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