I clearly remember watching the present Queen’s Coronation on a small Black and White Television. Those early ones were a great lump of furniture, some with very attractive wood grain that had a small screen set in them. Many televisions were ordered and bought especially for the spectacle. This was the first time that a Coronation was going to be screened live into vast numbers of peoples’ households. While I cannot honestly say I understood everything that occurred, I was very aware that something unusual and different was about to happen. And, for this day, lots of people were having a day at home. 🙂 We were invited to a friend’s house along with the rest of the family.
Owning a television or renting one, had not been commonplace. This Coronation was an event, not just for its uniqueness, but also, it was a major event I can say I saw through a grainy screen. I have clear memories of the canopy being set in place at the ceremonial point of anointing; Zadok The Priest, a musical flare that I stored in my memory; the crown being held aloft and placed on the head of the new Monarch; her, trailing down the aisle at Westminster with the crown balanced on her head, (it looked a bit big) her ladies-in-waiting managing the purple train, which was edged in ermine; finally, there are moments of memory of the Golden Coach journey, smartly dressed footmen, like those in fairy stories, and the horses hooves clattering their way back to the Palace.
A relative who died a few years ago, related to me memories of two coronations. For one she had received an invitation, not to attend inside Westminster Abbey, but to be seated outside in stands constructed specially for the day, on the route that the new King, (George VI) would take in his coach back to Buckingham Palace. Her dad, a tailor, had designed and made her a beautiful long skirted heavy dress coat from tapestry cloth for the occasion. The ticket holders had to arrive several hours earlier than the scheduled time for the grand parade. Negotiating with the policemen to leave the stands to visit the toilet, she said, was an art in diplomacy. 😳