The Queen’s Coronation: Bizarre Facts About Queen Elizabeth II’s Ceremony
A royal event always draws huge crowds, and the fact of the matter is that one of the most anticipated is that of a coronation. A coronation doesn’t happen very often — only when a new king or queen is crowned — and the last one was nearly 70 years ago with Queen Elizabeth II. As anyone can imagine, it is a pretty spectacular event, and even after all these years, people are still fascinated.
When the current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, had her coronation, she was only 27 years old, and she ascended the throne after the death of her father, King George VI. The coronation, which took place on June 2, 1953, at Westminster Abbey, was well-planned, as the royals are known for strictly following tradition. However, some things left people scratching their heads. Here are some bizarre facts about Queen Elizabeth’s II’s ceremony.
Princess Elizabeth’s queen crowning happened while she was out of the country
According to L’Officiel, the current monarch wasn’t even in the United Kingdom when she became queen! She was the first in 200 years to have been traveling abroad when her father, King George, died. Princess Elizabeth was in Kenya on a tour when it happened, learning that her beloved father had died of coronary thrombosis. Now Queen Elizabeth II, she flew back early to be with her family.
The coronation chair was over 650 years old
Something old makes a special occasion even better, and the coronation chair definitely was. Made in 1300 for Edward I, the chair has been used in every royal family coronation since that time.
Crowning Queen Elizabeth II involved plenty of priceless jewelry
We would expect the queen to be decked out in fabulous jewelry, but many may not know just how spectacular that jewelry was. For her coronation, Royal reports that her majesty wore the St. Edward’s Crown, made in 1661 and weighing in at a whopping 4 pounds and 12 ounces of solid gold.
Additionally, the queen sported: “an orb of gold surrounded by a cross girdled by a band of diamonds, emeralds, rubies, sapphire and pearls with a large amethyst at the summit.” She also wore the coronation ring on her right hand and The Sovereign’s scepter, which features a 530.2-carat diamond.
So, what did she have to say about all this? The queen wasn’t too happy about her heavy crown, saying that “You can’t look down to read the speech, you have to take the speech up. Because if you did your neck would break, it would fall off.”
There was an interesting story involving the anointing oil
Anointing oil is one of the most important things used in a coronation, but it didn’t go so smoothly this time. It turns out that the batch, which is made from the oils of orange, roses, cinnamon, musk, and ambergris, was destroyed by a bomb in 1941, requiring a new batch to be made.
A new refreshment was invented for guests
Naturally, nothing less than the best food and drink was served on that special day. Coronation chicken, now used in sandwiches, was served for foreign guests. It is made using cold chicken in curry powder with a mayonnaise sauce. Sounds delicious.
Queen Mary was the first to see a grandchild take the throne
A grandparent of a monarch never lived long enough to see their grandchild take the throne – until Queen Mary. Although she was alive when her granddaughter became queen, she sadly died before Coronation Day.
Queen Elizabeth coronation was the first to be televised
Today, many royal events are broadcast worldwide, but it wasn’t so common in 1953. In fact, Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation was the first to be televised, proving just how important that day was, and watched by a staggering 27 million people in the U.K.
The queen made a huge compromise
Even the queen has to make compromises. It turns out that she was not too excited about the golden carriage that she had to ride in that day, saying that “It’s only sprung on leather [which is] not very comfortable.” Despite these bizarre facts, the queen’s Coronation Day will live in the memories of millions of fans forever.