The Queen Opens the Vault on Her Coronation
Asked if she was in the carriage for a long time, she replied dryly, “Halfway around London.”
The big day began with her parading around the British capital, going from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey and stopping at Trafalgar Square.
Mr. Bruce told InStyle: “There is a tradition in the English coronation that if you have a monarch who slips or drops something or anything like that — in fact, Richard II’s slipper fell off when he was being carried back to bed because he had fallen asleep during the ceremony, and everyone saw that as a bad omen.
“That sort of pressure that you mustn’t make an error, for the first time being filmed and televised to the world: This is a huge challenge, I would imagine, for anybody to perform without fault through a medieval ceremony that has unbelievable symbolism and meaning.”
The crown was too big for her head.
The version of the Imperial State Crown that the queen wore at the end of the ceremony was also donned by her father, George VI, at his coronation in 1937.
It is set with 2,868 diamonds, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds and hundreds of pearls. It features a gemstone known as the Black Prince’s Ruby, believed to have been worn by Henry V at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415.
The rest of her regalia was already a handful, but the crown was its own challenge. So she practiced wearing it before the coronation, while going about her ordinary day, such as reading the newspaper or taking tea.
The crown, which she has worn for most state openings of Parliament since the coronation, was adapted slightly after the death of her father, with its arches lowered to create a smaller, more feminine object for the queen.
“You see, it’s much smaller isn’t it?” she says in a BBC trailer, gesturing to the height of the crown’s arches. It had been “very unwieldy,” she added.
“Fortunately, my father and I have about the same sort of shaped head. But once you put it on it stays. I mean, it just remains on.”
The crown could break your neck.
The queen notes that the crown forces one to take a certain posture when giving a speech.
“You can’t look down to read the speech; you have to take the speech up,” she said, “because if you did, your neck would break; it would fall off,” she said, smiling.
“So there are some disadvantages to crowns, but otherwise they’re quite important things.”
As the queen handles the crown, she points to four pearls hanging underneath the arches, two of which are believed to have belonged to Mary, Queen of Scots and bought by Elizabeth I.
“They were meant to be Queen Elizabeth’s earrings,” she said, joking, “They don’t look very happy now. Most pearls like to be sort of living creatures, so they’ve just been out, hanging out here for years. It’s rather sad.”
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