Features

Queen gives rare personal account of her coronation in documentary

12 January 2018 - 115   - 0

The trials of being head of state have been revealed by the Queen in a BBC documentary that features rare comments from the monarch on the perils of wearing the crown and the pain of travelling in a golden carriage.

In the hour-long programme The Coronation, to be aired on Sunday, the Queen speaks candidly about the moment she was crowned and jokingly says she cannot look down while wearing the Imperial State Crown, which weighs 2lbs 13oz (1.28kg), as her “neck would break”.

She also recounts how she was brought to a standstill when her heavy ceremonial robes ran against the thick carpet pile in Westminster Abbey during her coronation.

The documentary features the monarch in conversation with royal commentator Alastair Bruce and tells the story of the crown jewels and the ceremony of crowning a new monarch.

Speaking with the Imperial State Crown – worn when delivering her speech during the state opening of parliament – in front of her, the Queen said: “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.

She added: “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.

“So there are some disadvantages to crowns, but otherwise they’re quite important things.”

The crown was made for George VI’s coronation in 1937 and is set with 2,868 diamonds, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds and hundreds of pearls, including four known as Queen Elizabeth I’s earrings. It also 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.

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