The longest reigning monarch is looking back to where it all began.
Queen Elizabeth gave rare commentary on her historic 1953 coronation — and those dazzling crown jewels — in the 2018 Smithsonian Channel documentary, The Coronation.
The Queen got candid about some of the day’s more intimate details, including the extravagant horse-drawn golden carriage that carried her from Westminster Abbey through the streets of London back to Buckingham Palace.
“Horrible,” she says of the ride while watching both private and official film footage. “It’s only sprung on a lever. Not very comfortable.”
The Queen — whose coronation came 16 months after she ascended to the throne at age 25 — also looks back on the 1937 coronation of her father, King George VI and reminisces about the day when the weight of both St. Edward’s Crown and the hopes and expectations of a country recovering from WWII were on her shoulders.
“I’ve seen one coronation, and been the recipient in the other, which is pretty remarkable,” says the royal great-grandmother. “It’s sort of, I suppose, the beginning of one’s life really, as a sovereign.”
As for those Crown Jewels, the Queen said candidly: “There are some disadvantages to crowns, but otherwise, there are quite important things.”
Using rare footage, the film explored the beauty and story of the 140 items (and 23,000 precious stones) that make up the Crown Jewels. The show-stopping piece is the St. Edward’s Crown, which was destroyed after the English Civil War and remade for the Coronation of Charles II in 1661. It has only been worn by the Queen once, at the moment she was crowned. (And even then, she only wore it briefly because of its whopping 4-lb. weight, switching to the “lighter” (3-lb!) Imperial State Crown later during the festivities.)
The film also featured eyewitness accounts of those who took part in the big day, including a maid of honor who nearly fainted in the Abbey and a 12-year-old choir boy who was left to sing solo when his overwhelmed colleagues lost their voices.
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