Saturday, June 02, 2012


Those of us of a certain age will always remember where we were on this day in 1953. Sitting around a newly purchased television (or someone else's) watching the Coronation in grainy black and white.

No adverts, only the calm voice of Richard Dimbleby quietly, reverently commentating on the event - explaining who all those people were, what was happening.

It was an unforgettable experience. And I still have my souvenir book of the day, filled with highly coloured pictures.

It was raining and one of the most memorable sights was Queen Salote of Tonga sitting in an open carriage, refusing to give in to the weather.

And after it was over it was out into the street for the party.

It might have  been raining in London, but we had sun.

Everything was decorated with red, white and blue bunting.  Trestle tables along the entire length of the street, everyone contributing food, bringing out their chairs. (This wasn't our, but it was just like that!)

We had a fancy dress competition (someone leaned in front of me just as this picture was taken, but that's my Dad in the background!)

It was hailed as the New Elizabethan Age, but this Queen Elizabeth hasn't had to don armour and rouse her troops. While she's had to weather some bumpy weather she's been a steady hand on the tiller, a quiet figurehead, rather than a warrior queen.

While politicians have come and gone, HM is in the remarkable postion of having met everyone, of carrying the secrets of an entire age that has ranged, in her lifetime from a world in which most people travelled on public transport and by ship if they went overseas, to moon landings. From a Cold War to Glasnost. From radio broadcasts - that memorable broadcast when, as a young woman, Princess Elizabeth dedicated herself to the nation - to twitter.

There have been ups and downs, moments when it could have all gone pear-shaped, and I know that this isn't a bright and shiny world for everyone. But today is a rare occasion - only the second Diamond Jubilee in our history - and it's a day for fun, for remembering who we were and who we are, but most of all for rejoicing.



Anonymous said...

I've only had time to watch a very little bit of the festivities, but it's so exciting that even this American might consider during the celebratory moments to pledge her loyalty to your queen. :-)

I hope I have that much energy when I'm her age.


Lilian Darcy said...

This post makes me think about going through my mother's photo album as a child. She'd extended a working holiday in England especially to be there for the Coronation, and loved to show her pictures and trip diary.

Barbara Hannay said...

I can remember the Queen's coronation! It was a huge deal in our house. My Mum's the same age as the Queen and she's a staunch royalist, even though we're Aussies. My sisters and called Elizabeth and Margaret. LOL. I used to play coronations with frangipani flowers. Turn them upside down and they become Ladies in Waiting (my favourite part of the Coronation:).

Kelly Hunter said...

Gorgeous post and pictures, Liz. Thank you. May this lot of celebrations bring memories just as gorgeously vivid.

PrincessFiona01 said...

Thanks for this Liz. Before my time but my MIL who turned 80 on Sunday was married in 1953 and some of their wedding presents were commemorative teaspoons and china and so on.

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