The Queen’s crown is so heavy it may break your neck

Woman Anne Glenconner performed on the seaside with Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret as a toddler and went to their birthday events — however she by no means dreamed she would play a outstanding function in Britain’s final coronation.

Woman Anne was one among six ladies, the daughters of dukes or earls, chosen to be the queen’s Maids of Honor when Elizabeth ascended the throne on June 2, 1953. She was 19 to Elizabeth’s 27. Because the Smithsonian Channel particular “The Coronation” vividly illustrates, the Maids have been the “Spice Women” of the time, with loads of media protection — and there have been loads of procedures to comply with.

They have been “grilled” by the Duke of Norfolk on coronation etiquette and rehearsed the stroll to the Abbey altar, with the Duchess of Norfolk subbing for Elizabeth II. Woman Anne was additionally fitted for a costume designed by Norman Hartnell, dressmaker to the Queen and the Queen Mom. Woman Anne, now a jolly 85, nonetheless has the “heavenly silk” creation, which she says isn’t in superb situation. The Smithsonian particular additionally contains footage of the coronation, which was held at Westminster Abbey. The preparation was intensive, with 27 miles of seating constructed alongside the route from Buckingham Palace to the Abbey and 30,000 troops assembled from throughout the Commonwealth to march in salute. The Abbey was packed to the rafters with eight,000 visitors and individuals.

Woman Anne Glenconner with the Maid of Honor costume she wore on the Queen’s 1953 coronation.Freddie Claire/Atlantic Productions

Woman Anne held the queen’s practice as she stepped out of the royal, four-ton gold coach. “She was too stunning for phrases,” says Woman Anne. After which there was a number of standing, because the Archbishop of Canterbury enacted the coronation ritual. “The queen was very calm, which helped,” she says.

One of many pleasures of watching this present is listening to Queen Elizabeth herself weigh in with the BBC’s Alistair Bruce on all the pieces from the coach she rode in (“horrible”) to the Imperial State . She describes the as so , “You’ll be able to’t look all the way down to learn the speech, you must take the speech up. As a result of should you did, your would — it will fall off.” (In accordance with the UK’s Radio Instances, Bruce wasn’t allowed to ask Her Majesty any questions, solely “to make observations and tacitly invite her to reply.”)

Your complete coronation took about two hours, by Woman Anne’s estimate, after which it was a brief trip again to the palace, the place royal protocol fell by the wayside. “She took off her crown and put it on the desk. Prince Charles took it,” Woman Anne says. “Fortunately, a lady-in-waiting seized it. The queen thanked us and sat on her couch. It was such a aid that it was over.”

Woman Anne continues to be buddies with Queen Elizabeth. “I noticed her this summer season,” she says. “I do see her infrequently.”

“The Coronation” eight p.m. Sunday on Smithsonian Channel

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