How Prince Charles Almost Ruined Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation Day
Prince Charles was just four years old when he attended his mother’s coronation on June 2, 1953. Queen Elizabeth’s coronation was the first one to be televised, with more than 27 million UK citizens tuning in to see the crowning of the new monarch. But on that special day, young Charles had a near mishap that almost caused a bad omen.
Her Majesty actually became queen when she was abroad
When Queen Elizabeth’s coronation took place in June 1953, her majesty had already been the UK monarch for 16 months. The queen’s father, King George VI, passed away on February 6, 1952. At the time, the then-Princess Elizabeth was on a royal tour in Kenya with Prince Philip.
Her Majesty became queen the moment her father passed, but it would take months for her to be officially crowned. As the Royal UK website notes, the coronation is the “ceremony marking the formal investiture of a monarch with regal power.” An event of that magnitude takes months of planning.
The queen’s grandmother, Queen Mary, was 81 years at the time her granddaughter became queen. Mary was the first queen to see a grandchild ascend to the throne. But she died before Queen Elizabeth’s coronation at Westminster Abbey.
Eight grey gelding horses pulled the Gold State Coach that carried Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh to the abbey. Her Majesty wore a Norman Hartnell-designed satin dress with the UK and Commonwealth emblems in gold and silver thread.
Prince Charles was the first child to witness his mother’s coronation
At the time of her coronation, Queen Elizabeth was the mother of two children — Prince Charles and Princess Anne. However, Anne was less than two-years-old at the time and considered too young to attend.
Charles was the first child to witness his mother’s coronation as the UK’s Sovereign. The palace revealed that he received “a special hand-painted children’s invitation” for the event. He was one of 8,251 total guests who attended the ceremony.
“During the investiture, The Queen first put on the newly-made Colobium Sindonis – a loose linen-lawn garment, and then a robe of cloth of gold called the Dalmatic or Supertunica,” the palace’s website reads. “The Lord Great Chamberlain presented the golden spurs, the symbol of chivalry, after which the Archbishop of Canterbury presented a jeweled sword, and then the armills, the golden bracelets of sincerity and wisdom.”
During the final part of the ceremony, Queen Elizabeth “put on a stole and cloth of gold Robe Royal and received the orb, the coronation ring, the glove, and then the sceptre.”
Prince Charles came close to causing a bad omen on his mother’s coronation day
According to Hello! Magazine, Charles was quite fascinated with his mother’s new crown — the George IV State Diadem. Princess Margaret’s former lady-in-waiting, Lady Anne Glenconner, recently appeared on the My Life in Seven Charms podcast. She was a maid of honor at the queen’s coronation, and she said she wouldn’t dare touch the crown. But Prince Charles had his own ideas.
“Prince Charles got his paws on it, however old he was, when we got back to Buckingham Palace,” Lady Anne revealed. “Because [the Queen] took it off, put it on a table, and Prince Charles made a beeline for it. And we thought he was going to drop it. We thought, ‘Oh my goodness, that would be a bad omen.'”
Luckily, Lady Anne says her mother — as a lady-in-waiting — was able to take the crown away from Prince Charles. Queen Elizabeth wore the Imperial State Crown during her return to Buckingham Palace. It weighs more than two pounds and features 2,901 precious stones. Including the Cullinan II diamond and four pears believed to have been Queen Elizabeth I’s earrings.