To mark 65 years since her coronation at Westminister Abbey, the Queen has given a rare interview to the BBC, sharing her memories of the ceremony which changed her life. Here are a handful of the best revelations…
The Queen wrote a review of her father’s coronation…
To ensure that his daughter would be prepared for her own eventual coronation, George VI asked Elizabeth to write down her recollections of the day. 'I thought it all very, very wonderful and I expect the Abbey did too,' the 11-year-old 'Lilibet' wrote in her notebook. 'The arches and the beams at the top were covered in a sort of haze of wonder as Papa was crowned, at least I thought so.'
… but even the royals found the long ceremony a bit of a drag…
'At the end the service got rather boring as it was all prayers,' the young Princess wrote. 'Grannie and I were looking to see how many more pages to the end and we turned one more and then I pointed to the word at the bottom of the page and it said "Finis." We both smiled at each other and turned back to the service.'
The regalia was stored at Westminster Abbey before the coronation
The jewels are usually stored in the Tower of London, but were moved to the Abbey the night before the coronation. Here, they were guarded by 12 Yeomen Warders from the Tower, each armed with a revolver and 12 rounds of ammunition.
The maids of honour became stars in their own right
For the ceremony, the Queen was flanked by six young women of aristocratic birth, who provided the proceedings with an element of glamour. 'We were kind of like the Spice Girls,' recalled one of them, Lady Glenconner. 'We were in all of the newspapers.' When Lady Glenconner's shawl blew open during a dress rehearsal, revealing the gown she'd be wearing on the day, the images made the front pages.
The Queen’s coronation robes got stuck on the carpet of Westminster Abbey
Designed by royal couturier of choice Norman Hartnell (who also created the then-Princess Elizabeth's wedding dress five years earlier), the heavily embroidered dress and robes became stuck as the Queen walked down the aisle.
The maids of honour carried smelling salts
In order to prevent any fainting fits after hours of standing up in heavy dresses, the Queen's maids of honour carried smelling salts in their gloves. When one maid shook hands with the Archbishop of Canterbury, however, her container smashed, releasing a distinct scent of ammonia into the Abbey.
The state coach was ‘not very comfortable’
The coach, which has been used in every coronation ceremony since that of George IV, did not receive rave reviews from Her Majesty, who described her experiences as 'horrible. It's just not meant for travelling in… it's only sprung on leather.'