Even rain didn’t dampen a joyous new reign! Creator reveals the nationwide celebrations that befell after Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation

  • Barry Turner has penned an in depth account of Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation
  • Nation had been battered by post-war austerity when Elizabethan period started
  • Nation staged pageants, bonfires and avenue events regardless of climate on the day 



by Barry Turner (Historical past Press £20, 224 pp)

‘How I hate being King,’ George VI as soon as remarked. He had by no means anticipated to be, solely getting into the breach after his brother, Edward VIII, abdicated.

His 16-year reign — or ordeal as he maybe noticed it — got here to an finish on February 6, 1952, when he died in his sleep, aged solely 56. Famously, the information of his passing was conveyed to his eldest daughter and inheritor at Treetops Lodge in Kenya. She was now Queen Elizabeth II.

Within the minds of many, as Barry Turner demonstrates on this detailed, entertaining ebook, the nation, battered by post-war austerity, was prepared for a brand new Elizabethan period. And what higher solution to herald its arrival than with the wealthy pageantry and historical ritual of a coronation?

Barry Turner has penned a detailed account of Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation, which took place in Westminster Abbey (pictured)

Barry Turner has penned an in depth account of Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation, which befell in Westminster Abbey (pictured)

Coronations previously hadn’t all the time run easily. Charles I’s ceremony was interrupted by an earthquake. Nearly every part that would go improper did go improper when George III was topped. ‘I’ve taken care that the subsequent coronation shall be regulated within the exactest method doable,’ the nobleman in cost tactlessly advised the king.

Sixty years later, at George IV’s coronation, his estranged queen was denied entry on the doorways of Westminster Abbey and George spent a lot of his time winking suggestively at his present mistress.

Even Queen Victoria’s coronation was a ‘hazardous affair’, by which clergymen misplaced monitor of the service and the choir sang out of tune.

Churchill’s authorities was decided that the brand new queen’s ceremony could be a triumph. A Coronation Committee was created. All of its members had been male, lots of them aristocratic. A handful of Labour politicians had been thrown in, presumably supposed to signify the views of the person on the street. The committee was given a full yr and extra to arrange, the coronation set for June 2, 1953.

A Souvenirs Committee sifted via purposes to provide formally recognised memorabilia. A Sharp’s toffee tin with the queen’s face on it was given the thumbs up. A plan to promote crown-embroidered knickers was unanimously rejected.

Climate forecasters had confidently predicted the day could be heat and dry. It turned out to be chilly and moist — however nothing may dampen the spirits of these decided to attend.

By the night of June 1, 30,000 folks had been bedding down for the night time on the route of the procession. On the precise day, a privileged 8,000 had been crammed into Westminster Abbey, lots of them seated so excessive on briefly erected galleries that that they had a greater view of the ceiling mouldings than they did of the ceremony. An estimated viewers of 20 million watched on TV.

THORNS IN THE CROWN by Barry Turner (History Press £20, 224 pp)

THORNS IN THE CROWN by Barry Turner (Historical past Press £20, 224 pp)

On the coronary heart of all of it was the diminutive determine of the 27-year-old queen. She appears to have taken it in her stride. ‘Prepared, women?’ she is reported to have cheerfully requested her six maids of honour as they paused on the Abbey door earlier than getting into.

Spectators each inside and outdoors the Abbey had been unable to witness the anointing of the Queen with holy oil which befell behind a cover. Nevertheless, the huge viewers noticed the second when the Archbishop positioned St Edward’s Crown on her head and the congregation all cried out, ‘God Save the Queen!’

Because the Queen launched into the procession again to Buckingham Palace, nationwide celebrations started. Pageants had been staged, bonfires had been lit and, regardless of the climate, avenue events loved.

In line with Archbishop Fisher, the coronation was a second when ‘this nation and Commonwealth weren’t removed from the dominion of Heaven’. His comment was wildly extravagant, after all.

Barry Turner proves a extra down-to-earth and insightful information to the day and its that means for the nation. ‘Introduced because the opening of a door to a brand new age,’ he writes, ‘the coronation may equally be seen as affirmation of the endurance of the outdated order.’