Friday, May 31, 2013

60th Anniversary of the Queen's Coronation - Fun Facts

I'm a sucker for anything royal. After last year's lovely Jubilee celebrations Queen Elizabeth II is preparing to celebrate the 60th anniversary of her coronation this weekend. Here's some interesting and fun facts I found while researching that eventful day back in 1953.

Princess Elizabeth ascended the throne on February 6, 1952 after the death of her father, King George VI. For the next 16 months there was a period of mourning and planning so that the coronation could take place on June 2, 1953. The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II was the first ever to be televised (with many people in Britain buying their first television set to watch the ceremony) and millions of people lined the streets of London to see the new Monarch. Her Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, was against the coronation being televised, but the Queen overruled him. There were 750 commentators speaking 39 languages and it is estimated that more than 20 million people around the world watched the coverage.

  • 8,000 guests were invited to Westminster Abbey.
  • During the ceremony she was handed the four symbols of authority - the orb, the scepter, the rod of mercy and the royal ring of sapphire and rubies.
  • She is the 39th sovereign and the sixth queen to take the oath at Westminster Abbey.
  • Because there was a shortage of footmen for the event businessmen and country squires dressed as servants to help transport dignitaries.
  • Norman Hartnell designed the Queen's dress which included embroidered floral emblems from the countries of the Commonwealth including: the Tudor Rose of England, the Scots thistle, the Welsh leek, Irish shamrock for Northern Ireland, the wattle of Australia, the maple leaf of Canada, the New Zealand fern, South Africa's protea, two lotus flowers for India and Ceylon, and Pakistan's wheat, cotton, and jute.
  • The Queen walked up the aisle of Westminster Abbey to the hymn 'I Was Glad' which is the same hymn Kate Middleton walked up to the aisle at her wedding at Westminster Abbey.
  • Because the anointing oil that is used in a sacred part of the service was destroyed in World War II during the blitz more was needed. The company that made the oil no longer existed. Luckily someone knew the recipe and created a batch with the oils of orange, roses, cinnamon, musk, and ambergris.
  • Future Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards was a nine-year-old choirboy at the coronation.
  • The people of Britain celebrated their new Queen with street parties and fireworks.
  • On the morning of the coronation it was announced that Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay had reached the summit of Mount Everest causing more joy for the nation.
  • After the ceremony, the Queen hosted a coronation luncheon at Buckingham Palace and the recipe of Coronation Chicken was devised specially for the occasion.
  • Acorns from oaks in Windsor Great Park were sent to Commonwealth nations for planting. These trees are known as Royal Oaks or Coronation Oaks.
  • By tradition other foreign Royals do not attend coronations so many were represented by members of their royal family.
  • During Elizabeth's reign there have been 12 US Presidents. She has met all of them except for LBJ.
  • Also during her reign there have been 12 UK prime ministers.
  • Frankie Laine's  'I Believe' was the number one song in the UK the week of the coronation.
  • The best-selling book of 1953 in the UK was the Kinsey Report.
  • The average house price in the UK in 1953 was £2,750.

Thank you, your Majesty for 60 glorious years!

God save the Queen!

No comments:

Post a Comment