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. 😳


0 thoughts on “AN ART IN DIPLOMACY

  1. Excellent post. I have been trying to remember what I was doing during the coronation, and it’s all one big blur, as much of my childhood is. I do remember very grainy t.v. sets, and I also remember prior to our having a tv my breaking open the back of the wireless to try to find the people who were living inside:)x

  2. I didn’t see it on TV, but watched a news film afterwards… and I remember it as very impressive. Thank you for bringing up these memories.

  3. I always wanted to see who or what was in our cream wireless. It had to warm up before anyone came to speak to us. Was it the big clock face dial that opened up a door to somewhere or what? I did see inside one eventually, to see wires and tubes, like strange shaped bulbs. How could anyone get into one of those!

    :)) XX

  4. I am pretty sure our black and white TV’s didn’t do much about global coverage in the early days. There was, from what I vaguely remember, a lot of speech, (newsreaders, discussions) and the kiddies programmes that I sometimes saw when visiting friends homes, where there was a ‘television’. The pattern for visual entertainment in the early days, appears to have been very much based on styles of radio broadcasting, which I was used to, as we just had a radio in our house.

    We still miss a lot, to take up your media point. What we can be fed, is often at the whim of an editor or is constrained by company policy. A dose of healthy cynicism tempered with analysis is always desirable.

  5. Hello Shimon,

    I believe that the edited films of many major national pageants have a greater impact, than the ‘winding continuous film’ of the various elements of the event. My main desire at present, would be to edit out the inanities spouted over the scenes by the commentators, all in the art of out-doing one another and making ‘it’ friendly.

  6. A very interesting post Menhir I too watched the coronation on a small TV the family who lived downstairs invited us to watch the Coronation it was I remember very exciting to watch this great occasion I also remember the first recording device as you say a very large furniture so big you could sit on it :))

  7. The TV, you sat on it!!!! I take it, that ones fundament was perched on a brocade protective cloth that covered said valuable and prestigious object when it wasn’t alive with grainy pictures, regal,or, otherwise.

  8. No not the TV the recorder for taping programmes that was a little later but I do remember the size of them enormous seems really funny now 😉

  9. What kind of recording device was it? I remember wind up record players, radiograms and Dansette record playing decks in boxes about the size of a freezer top box, or, perhaps just slightly larger.

  10. Very interesting to hear of your relative’s experience of the Coronation of King George :yes:
    I don’t remember life before TV, but my two older sisters both did. My Aunt got TV before we did and they used to go there to watch, apparently our Isadora who was quite small at the time used to enjoy copying a dance that was on an advert – “She wears red feathers and a hula hula skirt” was the tune. Early signs of her aptitude for shaking her tail feathers eh ;D The Arabian Belly Dancing came much later 🙂

  11. I am wondering if the song was one fruitily sung by Tullula Bankhead, (I think that’s the spelling). Like Isadora, I only got a peep at television in houses where there was one. Only for Children’s stories, mind. Andy Pandy was one such story. It was all carefully monitored, (no pun intended; 💡 monitors meant something different then, too). No experiences of dancing girls in those days, such as Isadora enjoyed, not even ballet.

    I was looking for a picture of the dress coat I mentioned. I must have packed the CD with the pictures, in with said relative’s memorabilia. There were two gorgeous coats, different shades of tapestry, slightly different design features, and two different sizes, for dad’s two daughters. Only one daughter was invited to to watch the procession from an officially designated place.

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