Elizabeth became queen after the death of her father, on February 6, 1952, but she was crowned more than a year later, on June 6, 1953, and Charles III would also be crowned in a few months, and better this way, because there are few problems to solve. It’s been 70 years since the UK’s last ruler was crowned, and all the people who organized the event have passed away. Now many will go to watch the videos of that day, broadcast live by the BBC against the wishes of Winston Churchill, who considered television a vulgar invention. The announcer’s reporter, Richard Dimbleby, was placed in a glass booth above the altar and a microphone mask was placed around his mouth so that he could not be heard in church. This show still has the highest approval rating in television history: 98%.
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The problems to be discussed are not few. George VI crowned his wife, who became queen. Will the party also include Camilla as queen or will it be dedicated to Carlo alone? Elizabeth entered Westminster Abbey by herself, her dress so heavy that she could no longer move after she stopped at the door. In great practical spirit, he whispered to the Archbishop of Canterbury: “Let me go.”
Then there is the matter of the more private part of the ceremony, as the archbishop anoints the forehead of the king, who must be dressed in penitent robes and protected by a canopy that prevents him from seeing the spectacle. In 1953 Elizabeth wore a custom in white (but always tailored by her personal tailor, Norman Hartnell) which covered her sumptuous robe, and an umbrella that made her invisible as the Archbishop said: “How anointed Solomon by Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet, so are you queen of anointing.” And blessed and consecrated to the peoples whom the Lord your God has given you.” The anointing oil, which is said to contain rose water, jasmine, orange, musk and amber, was prepared by the New Bond Street pharmacy that closed in 1963. Which penance garment would Charles wear? Since he wants the activities of the monarchy to be visible to all, will he still want the umbrella over him?
However, the most difficult question is another. The new ruler should sit on the wooden throne of Edward I, which contained Stone of Scone, the most sacred historical relic of the Scots because they crowned their kings over it. In 1996 the government decided to return the stone to Scotland “when not in use for coronation”. Will Liz Truss ask her about Carlo? Will the Scots organizing the new independence referendum rebel against the idea?
The procession that followed Elizabeth after the ceremony was applauded by a million people. It was 3.2 kilometers long and took 45 minutes to pass. Would Carlo want to repeat such a show? Mostly not.
In 1953, Elizabeth’s coronation, as had already been for her 1947 marriage, marked the end of the post-war emergency and the beginning of a new era with a young queen. Today, with an aging monarch, with the global crisis, and with Republicans ready to raise their heads, everything points to a greater sobriety.
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