In her 65 years on the throne, Queen Elizabeth II has been on TV countless times — speeches, royal weddings, the opening of Parliament, and that little to-do in which she was crowned — but she has never granted an interview directly. But last night, the Smithsonian Channel aired a BBC documentary (re-dubbed with an American narrator, which… more on that later) in which she spoke about her Coronation with Alistair Bruce, a “coronation expert” and commentator for Sky News.
The premise is pretty nifty: She watches footage of the event for the first time, and she manhandles her crowns on-camera. The intimacy it creates with the audience is rather special, especially having just watched The Crown and being so aware of how it was when she began; how TV brought her to her subjects in a way that was unusual, and how technology in general has changed the world a few times over during her immense reign. Back in the day, monarchs had to go on processions through the country for the people to see and believe them. Now she can slide right into their homes. It’s a light, neat 75 minutes (in the U.S., due to added commercial breaks), and does drive home the weight of history and tradition that sat on those 27-year old shoulders. And why her royal forebears might’ve been given to believe in the godliness and majesty and spectacle of it all. The coronation’s framework has been the same since Anglo-Saxon times — since before even Windsor existed, before years ticked up into four digits. That is a lot Queen Elizabeth II was being told she had to preserve.
But, all-told, she either wasn’t with Bruce for terribly long, or just didn’t give him that much to go on; you can tell there are times when he’s straining to guide the interview, having been well-briefed on various technical aspects and behind-the-scenes anecdotes, and clearly angling for the right avenue to get her to uncork a great story of her own or repeat a fact for the camera. It doesn’t usually work. For example, at one point, Bruce — clearly wishing she’d brought this up herself — says they “probably” put a special device inside one of the crowns to make sure it stayed put on her head without having to resize it, and her response is, “Yes, must’ve done,” and that’s it. Given that her job is not to be a professional raconteur, I’m sure Bruce was ready for it to be a challenging interview — she isn’t ever going to bleed herself dry in public of all her Feelings and Private Moments — but I did catch myself wishing it had been driven more by her. Instead, they brought in historians, a Maid of Honor, a narrator, and other figures (including an interview with Bruce himself, in a weird meta moment, and I wonder if that was borrowed from another special) to give us the “intimate knowledge of the Crown Jewels” that was promised would come from her and which I think we all hoped would in its entirety. Rather, they cobble together what they can and fill in the rather sizable blanks with everyone else. It’s still interesting on its own merits, but the snippets you do get with the Queen only serve to underscore how great it would’ve been if they’d come away from this crowing, “She’s so loquacious! Wouldn’t stop telling stories!”
Still, it did yield some nuggets, and we’ve got TONS of photos throughout and especially at the end (many of them done old-school “photograph the TV” style). Also: Logistics! Secret passageways! Charles cavorting under her train! And how often do you get to see the monarch gazing at her most famous crown?
Oh, and for those who are weary of Prince Philip thanks to The Crown (though it’s not HIS fault Peter Morgan made him out to be such a whinger), you’ll be pleased to know he barely rates a mention. Which seems egregious to me. But we’ll get there.
I. Nobody is fact-checking at The Smithsonian Channel.
This originally aired on the BBC, and evidently had a British narrator. Our version did not. I cannot imagine why they would feel it necessary to redub this with an American voice, as if we cannot possibly understand a British accent, or would rather crumble than be forced to sit through such pleasing, mellifluous tones. Maybe it was a money issue, or some kind of union issue, or… I don’t know, honestly. Why this matters: I don’t know if the U.S. version used the same script as the one on the BBC, but it seems as if they rewrote it for American audiences potentially less versed in the trappings of the monarchy. This apparently did not air on the BBC version, but here, when discussing some WWII shenanigans with the Crown Jewels, the narrator — with almost a ta-da quality — refers to them as having been stashed under “the 100-year old Windsor Castle.”
Dudes. Windsor was built in Norman times. And I’m not talking about Norman Hartnell times. I mean THE ACTUAL NORMANS. It dates back to somewhere within the decade of 1066-76, right after Bill the Conq worked his magic. It was most definitely not being built in 1917, and when the narrator read all the stuff about it being so old and significant and used the word “medieval” you would THINK it would have triggered something?!?
One Fug National posited that Smithsonian Channel (or whoever) may have conflated this with the ruling house changing its name to Windsor in 1917, and that’s certainly possible — but still almost a hard mistake to make because it’s some big hoops you have to jump through to get to THAT piece of information, as opposed to just Googling “Windsor Castle.” I think someone just left a zero off the copy and nobody caught it. Come on, y’all. Don’t give anything associated with The Smithsonian a lazy name.
II. The crowns are double-bagged.
Early on, we see the Crown Jeweller — one of only three people allowed to touch the St. Edward’s Crown, the others being the monarch and the Archbishop of Canterbury — arriving at Buckingham Palace with his cargo. There is a square leather box, which is unbuckled and opened at the top so he can extract a dark wooden case with a tiny keyhole. In there, snuggled against white satin-looking lining, sits the crown. (Which he only handles with pristine white gloves, though the Queen uses her bare hands.) The case doesn’t have a visible label but maybe it’s on the back? I’m sure the jeweller knows, regardless, but obviously I next want to talk to the person who keeps the Crown Jewels’ luggage in order.
III. The Queen doesn’t know which way the St. Edward’s Crown goes.
In fact, hardly anyone seems to know for sure, or at least not offhand. The queen has rarely seen it (“Thank goodness,” she giggles; it DOES weigh five pounds, which sounds cumbersome) and she’s only worn it once: It’s the one placed on the sovereign’s head in the moment of coronation, and that is its only deployment. “Impossible to tell which is the front,” she frowned, poking at it, and wiggling it a bit. At her father’s coronation, even George was never sure they put it on correctly: Apparently the Archbishop of Canterbury tied a subtle piece of thread to denote the front, but either it fell off, or it was too subtle and he couldn’t spot it in the moment. We see footage of him turning it around and around, scrutinizing it, as Bertie patiently waits. It’s great. Alistair Bruce tries to get a reaction from the Queen to that, saying, “I don’t think the king was pleased–” before she swiftly and tightly cuts in, “NO HE WASN’T.”
IV. The Queen is not above getting excited by her jewels.
When the Imperial State Crown is brought out — the one most closely associated with her — she gets a glimmer. Bruce stiffly asks the jeweler to bring it closer to the Queen (maybe it was sitting too far away for her to reach?), and as soon as he does, she snatches it and spins it around and says, “This is what I do when I wear it,” with a grin.
Here, she’s explaining that the job of the person who hands her the crown to wear. He turns it so that the Stuart Sapphire is facing her, so that she can lift it and set it properly on her head, with that at the back. When I am crowned the Queen of my own empire, I will remember that my crown needs lots of colorful jewels so that I never wear them backward.
V. The close-up footage is awesome.
The Queen turns the crown so she can stare at her favorite, the Black Prince’s Ruby, pictured above. It’s a stone dating back to Henry V at the Battle of Agincourt in the 15th century. I have no idea if this is newly shot footage or if it was done for a museum exhibit or older program, but the detail is marvelous, and it’s so special to get such a tight peek. You can see the canal down the center of this magnificent old ruby, which Henry rather unbelievably used as a holder for his plume. “Bit rash,” the Queen sighs on camera, “but that was the sort of thing they did in those days.”
VI. The Cullinan Diamond was gigantic… and traveled by post?!?
I hadn’t heard of this diamond, somehow. Apparently it was discovered in 1905 and MAILED to the UK, which is… an extremely trusting endorsement of Royal Mail and one it should put on its Yelp page posthaste. It was then three years later sent to Asscher Brothers in the Netherlands to cut, eventually splitting into nine pieces (and, the Queen claims, eradicating a small brown flaw in the process). The Queen here says she wishes she’d been in Antwerp in 1908 when the diamond-cutter “hit it with his… whatever you’d hit a diamond with,” and grins that legend has it he stared at it for several hours beforehand and then fainted the second he made first contact (a story heavily disputed by the Asscher family, apparently). She owns all nine bits, or at least her family does. The largest colorless cut diamond in the world is the one you just whizzed past, Cullinan No. 1, a 535-carat chunk that’s in the sceptre. The smaller Cullinan No. 2 weighs in at a svelte 317 carats and is embedded in the Imperial State Crown. During the show, Queen Elizabeth is wearing a brooch that I believe is from Cullinan Nos. 3 and 4, which Wikipedia says are known as “Granny’s Chips”; there’s a really cool story about how she hadn’t worn it out until she visited the place it was cut in 1958, when she showed it to the 84-year old nephew of the Asscher brother who’d cut it and he was incredibly touched. But obviously the best diamond in the world remains where it belongs: in the Mallory Gallery.
Alistair Bruce makes no mention of that one, which I found hugely irresponsible, as we all know about its importance.
VII. Queen likes to anthropomorphize her bling.
The Imperial State Crown has four pearls swinging in the middle, just under the ornaments on the top. Apparently two of them belonged to Mary, Queen of Scots, and Elizabeth I bought them after Mary’s execution, which I’ve decided was one final snarky power play because I like royal drama and pettiness. Anyway, the Queen peers at them and says, “They’re not very happy now. They don’t look very happy. Most pearls like to be living creatures. They’ve just been hanging out here for years. They’re sad. … They need warming.”
Alistair Bruce seems deeply confused by this. I have no idea if it’s true, but Google did teach me pearls are not made from grains of sand but rather parasites, which can ooze a bit if a pearl is drilled into, so… you know, that was a fun mental image as I watched QE2 look at this while wearing multiple strands of parasites around her neck.
Later, when she’s looking at the Cullinan No. 2, the Queen pats her brooch made of “Granny’s Chips” and says, “They’ve never seen each other since they were smashed.”
VIII. The Queen had homework from George VI’s coronation, and could use title help.
Elizabeth’s father tasked her with writing down all her memories from his coronation, either for her own benefit — for the future — or just as an exercise. The Queen herself here states that it was very valuable to her to have done it. The document is called, “The Coronation. To Mummy and Papa. A Memory of Their Coronation. From Lilibet. By Herself.” I think we could’ve workshopped something pithier. This must be in a museum somewhere, because they don’t have the Queen flip through it or even read from it herself, which is a shame. Still, there’s footage and a voice-over of one thing she wrote: “I thought it all very ,very wonderful, and I expect the Abbey did too. The arches and beams at the top were covered with a sort of haze of wonder as Papa was crowned, at least I thought so.”
The Queen, prompted by Bruce to explain how her memory compares between this coronation and her own, notes that she can recall way more of her father’s because “I wasn’t doing anyhting. I was just sitting there.” There’s almost a “duh” quality to this delivery, which I cherish.
IX. Even the Queen didn’t know where the Crown Jewels were kept during WWII.
Until recently, no one did. A librarian discovered George VI’s letters on the subject, which details the plan to keep Hitler’s gross Nazi paws off them in the event of a German siege or the loss of the war. They were buried under Windsor Castle: There is evidently a hidey-hole buried 60 feet below it, and we get to take a trip into it. That did not screen-grab well, as you can imagine, but it’s stellar. Though the sight of them going down into this cavernous, dark chamber on a rickety ladder must have triggered Jessica’s claustrophobia.
It’s fantastic, though. What a cool thing to see. Secret passageways! (There’s always been rumored to be one that Charles II used to smuggle his mistress Nell Gwynn in and out, and possibly one linking the Castle to the famous Crooked House, though no one knows for sure.)
Even better, apparently the librarian at the time prised some gems from the crowns and hid them in cookie tins, so that they were portable in a crisis or could be split up so that if one part got discovered, the others would still be secure.
Bruce tells the Queen this, and her reaction is, “Huh.” That’s what an ENTIRE LIFETIME of concealing your emotions in public will do.
X. The jewels weren’t the only things that went missing during the war.
The Queen casually recalls that all the pictures disappeared from the walls, and other treasures vanished, and I guess she and Margaret just accepted it: “We were only children then. We didn’t know anything. One was never told anything.”
XI. The stock footage underscores how much money they spent on The Crown.
Every time there’s a shot of a BOAC airplane, it’s just… dead-on. Speaking of, there is also personal footage from Elizabeth shot from their treehouse room in Kenya, where she found out about George’s death. Those events were covered in The Crown season one, which implies she and Phil enjoyed some intimacy in that treehouse, which is a slightly awkward thing to have in mind while viewing this lovely personal material.
XII. Philip gets almost no due here.
He is mentioned as the chair of the Coronation Committee, but far more attention is paid to the Duke of Norfolk. We know from The Crown, among other sources, that Philip pushed for a lot of modernization where he could, and was supposedly the key force in televising the coronation so that it could reach the widest audience and have the greatest impact (especially as it pertained to giving some hope and pageantry to a nation still struggling to find post-war stability). But none of that is touched upon, and Philip is in fact almost entirely blitzed from the proceedings save for one Maid of Honor recalling that he looked dishy and was extremely protective of making sure it was all perfect for Elizabeth.
Instead, there’s discussion of the Duke of Norfolk, aka Bernard Marmaduke Fitzalan-Howard (yep), whose family had overseen coronations basically forever. And since the UK is the only country that has employed its same basic coronation ceremony since medieval times, that is quite a track record of getting to be the boss of everyone. Bernie is shown pridefully telling people, “Everyone will drive in a carriage, ride a horse, or walk. There will not be any mechanization at all.”
He was a CRANK, it seems: Per this documentary he would send the police to drag home unruly bishops who took unapproved holidays, and when Winston Churchill’s son criticized what he thought was a bit of a messy event plan, Norfolk’s assistant crept over and said, “I think you ought to remember that there’s room at the Tower still.” I hope the Queen steals that line.
XIII. There is a recipe for Coronation Oil.
The oil is kept in a tiny box by the Dean of Westminster. It is old and peeling and quite something; I wish they’d given its date of provenance.
He opens it to display a flask labeled CORONATION OIL, and a letter that lists the recipe: sesame and olive oils, rose, orange flower, jasmine, cinnamon, musk civet, and ambergris. So if you want to do some home-brewing, or just make your next stir-fry taste like royalty, then I’m glad I might’ve been of service.
Fun fact: The golden spoon, into which said oil is dispensed, is the oldest item used because it’s the only one known to have survived The Smelting. When Oliver Cromwell disbanded the monarchy, they melted down the Crown Jewels and sold off the pieces, but somehow the spoon was spared.
XIV. So many logistics!
– There were 29,000 troops from the Commonwealth countries in town to march a five-mile post-ceremony route, which took them two hours.
– There was 27 miles of seating along the route. I don’t really know how THAT calculation works, but okay.
– There were 8,000 people in the Abbey for the Coronation, with all kinds of seating brought in to make sure they could literally pack it to the rafters.
– For six months prior to the event, they closed the Abbey and laid actual railroad track to bring in wood and iron to make all this possible.
– The choir numbered 400 boys, and they were so packed in that they needed three conductors, who used a relay system so that the boys stuck behind pillars still had SOMEONE at SOME angle they could see.
– Two million people descended on London, so they ran 6500 extra trains and 6000 buses to get them around the city.
– Former World War II air-raid shelters were turned into accommodations.
– The jewels come to the Abbey the night before, guarded by 12 yeoman warders (“Beefeaters,” they’re often called) who each bore a revolver with twelve rounds and protected them through the night. The former choir boy leading this tour notes with a laugh that if they’d had to discharge any of that, “it would’ve left a few holes.”
– The Queen’s dress was so heavily done up that when it caught on the rug’s thick pile, she had a hard time moving.
XV. People do eat at these things.
Apparently many of the aristocrats in their fancy hats and cloaks brought flasks and sandwiches to get them through the long day. There’s also a very short anecdote about how Queen Victoria’s coronation was so long, and unrehearsed, that they bungled the whole thing and she ended up going into the chapel much earlier than scheduled — and found it littered with wine and sandwiches. “It me,” as the kids say.
XVI. Her coach isn’t the Queen’s favorite way to travel.
“Horrible,” she shudders when she sees the golden state coach. She says it basically has no shocks, so it’s rocky, and it can only be pulled at a walking pace because it’s so heavy.
XVII. A minor wardrobe malfunction did happen.
Sort of. Lady Anne Glenconnor, the Maid of Honor with whom they speak, shows them her archived dress from the festivities. “We just felt like princesses. We were all brought up in the war with rationing and clothes coupons,” she says. “We’d never had a dress like this.” Also, I just realized that if the Queen is 91 and was six years older than Lady Anne, then this woman is 85, and she looks FREAKING GREAT and I wish I’d gotten a proper grab of her. Just trust me. Anyway, apparently they never wore them until the final rehearsal, and she didn’t realize they’d been trying to keep the gowns a secret, so she only wore a flimsy shawl. A rogue gust of wind blew that away, and boom, the papers had a front-page spoiler of what the Maids of Honor would be wearing. Miraculously, she was not beheaded. Nor fired.
XVIII. Speaking of those rehearsals…
There were a LOT of them. The Queen didn’t attend the ones with the entire group; at those, they crowned Norfolk’s wife, which must have been both rather thrilling and a bit dispiriting later when she went home and didn’t have a throne of her own. The Queen clearly felt a bit burdened by all of the practicing. “There’s an awful lot of walking backwards, isn’t there?” she observes at one point, and when Bruce gushes that it’s just SUCH a delicate ballet and that everyone knows perfectly where to go, she retorts, “They jolly well should’ve done after the number of rehearsals we had.”
It is intriguing to watch her take it in as an observer for the first time: “When you’re taking part in something, you don’t actually see it,” she says, which nearly mirrors advice I got on my wedding day. A good friend told me to find a corner and stand there quietly for a full five or ten minutes and just watch everyone at the reception, because otherwise it will all pass in a blur — plus, you almost never live to see that group of people together in a room again, and you really want to imprint the memories of the party. I did, and it worked.
XIX. Jackie Kennedy was there.
Granted, she was Jacqueline Bouvier then, but she attended in her capacity as a journalist for the Washington Times-Herald. Neat, eh?
XX. Anne was not there.
We see footage of her at the palace window, peering through the curtains as Elizabeth’s carriage leaves for the Abbey. Charles attended with the Queen Mum and Margaret, but “only for about ten minutes,” claims the Queen. For what it’s worth, in the clip they show, he looked VERY serious and well-behaved and not at all like he’s got snacks in his pants. (I hope he did.)
XXI. She really does harsh the interviewer’s buzz a few times.
Right as Bruce gushes about how brilliant the Librarian Hiding Gems In Cookie Jars plan was, the Queen comes in with, “Did he remember where he’d put them? He might’ve died in the middle of it.” Bruce is a bit flummoxed and haltingly notes that he suspects King George knew, and she kind of shrugs it off, and it plays like she just totally poked a hole in his admiration for this discovery. It made me laugh.
They definitely needed a more skilled interviewer, because she wasn’t giving up the anecdotes readily, and I think that led to him getting nervous and saying stuff that didn’t land. For example, as she’s looking at the crown and talking about its weight, he burbles, “You tend to forget that diamonds are STONES,” and she just sort of stares at him for a second. Or when Bruce asks what Charles and Anne did all day while she was being crowned, in the hope of a family anecdote, she instead fixes him with a bemused, semi-“duh” stare and says, “I’ve no idea. I wasn’t there.”
Chaz and Anne did reappear at the Palace afterward, when she returned home with her Maids of Honor.
Bruce starts waxing delighted at this footage of Charles cavorting under her train with glee” Such fun for the childr–” and she interjects, “It’s not what they’re meant to do.” Bruce’s reaction is so politely thrown. You can practically hear the Price Is Right loser trumpets playing.
Oh, and in case it wasn’t clear, this only makes me love her more.
XXII. She does get animated with the jewels though.
“They’re quite important things,” she concludes softly as she looks at this crown, with almost a bashful smile, in a way that makes me wonder if she too is still somewhat in awe of the objects –
like maybe they never become banal to her. “The more jewels the better,” she also notes. “George the Fourth invented that, didn’t he? He loved jewelry and color.” She chuckles a bit at this, because of course he did.
George IV wished he was Midas — he wanted to gild everything and anything he could; he was DEEPLY pro-pageantry, and started a lot of the grander traditions that persist today, like the procession at Royal Ascot. And his coronation was the most expensive one ever.”He did have a sense of style,” Bruce says. “OH, HE DID,” the Queen says, the all-caps most definitely present.
XXIII. But that doesn’t mean she’s hot for wearing them all the time.
The anecdote here that got the most play is when she says she can’t tip her head down to read a speech while wearing the Imperial State Crown or else she’ll snap her neck. “You’ve got to bring the speech up,” she says. “Is it comfortable?” Bruce asks. “No!” she all but squeals with a grin. “Nothing like that is comfortable.”
And if that isn’t a concise expression of The Crown’s entire thesis, I don’t know what is.
Below is a grid of a bunch of extra images from the special, each with a caption. Just click to read the ones you want to see and it will drop down for you; click the X when you’re done and it’ll close up and you can move on to the next.
The Carry CaseThe Carry Case
The Carry Case
There’s something so pleasantly worn-in about this whole scenario. I suppose when you consider the St. Edward’s Crown hasn’t had anywhere to go in, oh, 65 years, you probably don’t blow a lot of money on luggage.
The St. Edward's CrownThe St. Edward’s Crown
The St. Edward's Crown
This is just the kind of stuff I love seeing. Also, how often do we EVER get to see this crown in such stark relief? I’ve seen them at the Tower, but ages ago; we skipped it this summer with the boys because the lines were so long, and there is nothing more irritating than sweltering in that queue, only to get inside and find that something you wanted to see is out for cleaning.
Poking The CrownPoking The Crown
Poking The Crown
As the Queen remarks on how solid this five-pound beast is, she prods at, picks it up, plonks it down, tilts it. She even tries to wiggle these as a way to prove it’s tough as nails. Seeing her do that, I couldn’t help cringing, almost anticipating that she’d unexpectedly crack one of them off — despite KNOWING it’s not possible and that no one knows that more keenly than she, or the Crown Jeweller. I reacted that way involuntarily. Like, “Oh NO don’t Lohan the crown!”
The Chips & The CrownThe Chips & The Crown
The Chips & The Crown
I LOVE this smile on her face. You can see that the Imperial State Crown is a bit more sparkly and colorful than the St. Edward’s. The brooch she’s wearing is the one mentioned in the piece, the Cullinan chips — “Granny’s Chips” — and Order of Splendor has some more info on it, including the fact that Queen Mary had them first. The Queen Mary we saw in The Crown did not come across as being like this person who is described as “one of the most creative royals when it came to jewels.”
The PearlsThe Pearls
Wikipedia says the association with Elizabeth and/or Mary, Queen of Scots, is “almost certainly erroneous.” BOO TO THAT, I say. Let’s will it into being true.
The Imperial State CrownThe Imperial State Crown
The Imperial State Crown
Apparently they DID alter the circumference of this one to fit her better, and lowered the height of it so that it would “look more feminine.” You can tell in photos that her father’s version was taller, something the Queen confirms in the documentary. Pooh to the concept of needing to be ladylike by being smaller, but he was much taller than she, so from a comfort and equilibrium perspective it probably did help.
The Coronation BookThe Coronation Book
The Coronation Book
Look at his, bound by red thread that matches her pencil color. What good condition it’s in, too. I also love the dramatic underline under “HERSELF.” She wrote it HERSELF and NO ONE ELSE. I’ve assigned to that a sassiness that we also have decided is very much present in Princess Charlotte.
The EssayThe Essay
She had VERY good penmanship. I wish she could teach the beans. I really loved that she wrote from the perspective of the Abbey itself approving of the ceremony. It’s very little-girl thoughtful, but it also ties in so neatly with the way she as a 91-year old spoke about her pearls having live and wanting things, and her brooch not having seen its Cullinan kin. She seems to enjoy the idea that places and items enjoy a rich inner life, and I like that. Certainly being based in London and Windsor for most of your existence would teach you an appreciation for living history.
More Historical Documents!More Historical Documents!
More Historical Documents!
You guys, I am addicted to these. This is the detailed account of how the librarian removed the stones from the jewels, and how he wrapped and protected and stored them. I wish we could read this entire thing.
George's CoronationGeorge’s Coronation
Every time I see George VI, I’m struck with trying to figure out who — besides himself or anyone in his family — he resembles. I THINK I’ve settled on Young Tim Curry. Also, Elizabeth and Margaret to always look strikingly alike to me (the idea that one of them, Marg, was considered to be the beautiful one is crackers to me, because they’re SO SIMILAR), but it’s really evident here as well.
A Dapper Family PicA Dapper Family Pic
A Dapper Family Pic
Look how hale George seems here! And jaunty, in his plaid.The Queen seems so delighted by him. Not to keep harping on The Crown, but shows like this continuously note how close she was to her father, and the spectre of losing him so young did affect her in ways beyond her becoming Queen. The Crown never built that bond, and in fact, seemed bent on promoting Margaret as his favorite (Philip taunts Elizabeth with that at one point). Maybe he had a soft spot for his youngest, but I would’ve liked to see these two have more intellectual closeness at least.
What a GREAT shot of the bleachers they built into the Abbey. The Queen remarked at one point that all that extra seating, and it being so packed with people, somehow canceled out the imposing height of the place.
Logistics Pt. 2!Logistics Pt. 2!
Logistics Pt. 2!
I thought you’d like to see the train tracks they brought into the Abbey. I’m sure whomever was Dean at the time was like, “MY ABBEY MY BEAUTIFUL ABBEY DO NOT SCRATCH THE FLOORS.”
The Maids' DressesThe Maids’ Dresses
The Maids' Dresses
I wish these shots were better — from me; on the show they’re crystal-clear — but we got wonderful close-ups of the work that went into these Norman Hartnell gowns.
The women were chosen basically by luck — they needed high-society ladies with, as Lady Anne noted, nice figures, and of a certain young age (which I suspect made the Queen look older, in a way they hoped it would; 27 was awfully young to ascend and they probably hoped to give her as much extra gravitas as possible). She says they became like The Spice Girls, in that they were all over the papers; she never does say if she’s ever encountered the Queen again. I somehow doubt it, unless she was an invited Garden Party guest or something. Can you imagine being a part of that moment in history, and having it exist in such a bubble separate from the rest of your life?I don’t know if you can tell here, but there are feathers on there.
Poor Lady Anne.
The Coronation OilThe Coronation Oil
The Coronation Oil
This is SO NEAT.
The IngredientsThe Ingredients
For your records. Or your recipe file.