Woman Anne Glenconner performed on the seashore with Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret as a baby and went to their birthday events — however she by no means dreamed she would play a outstanding position in Britain’s final coronation.
Woman Anne was certainly one of six women, the daughters of dukes or earls, chosen to be the queen’s Maids of Honor when Elizabeth ascended the throne on June 2, 1953. She was 19 to Elizabeth’s 27. Because the Smithsonian Channel particular “The Coronation” vividly illustrates, the Maids had been the “Spice Ladies” of the time, with loads of media protection — and there have been loads of procedures to observe.
They had been “grilled” by the Duke of Norfolk on coronation etiquette and rehearsed the stroll to the Abbey altar, with the Duchess of Norfolk subbing for Elizabeth II. Woman Anne was additionally fitted for a gown designed by Norman Hartnell, dressmaker to the Queen and the Queen Mom. Woman Anne, now a jolly 85, nonetheless has the “heavenly silk” creation, which she says isn’t in excellent situation. The Smithsonian particular additionally contains footage of the coronation, which was held at Westminster Abbey. The preparation was intensive, with 27 miles of seating constructed alongside the route from Buckingham Palace to the Abbey and 30,000 troops assembled from throughout the Commonwealth to march in salute. The Abbey was packed to the rafters with eight,000 friends and contributors.
Woman Anne Glenconner with the Maid of Honor gown she wore on the Queen’s 1953 coronation.Freddie Claire/Atlantic ProductionsLady Anne held the queen’s practice as she stepped out of the royal, four-ton gold coach. “She was too lovely for phrases,” says Woman Anne. After which there was a number of standing, because the Archbishop of Canterbury enacted the coronation ritual. “The queen was very calm, which helped,” she says.
One of many pleasures of watching this present is listening to Queen Elizabeth herself weigh in with the BBC’s Alistair Bruce on every little thing from the coach she rode in (“horrible”) to the Imperial State Crown. She describes the crown as so heavy, “You may’t look all the way down to learn the speech, it’s important to take the speech up. As a result of if you happen to did, your neck would break — it might fall off.” (In keeping with the UK’s Radio Instances, Bruce wasn’t allowed to ask Her Majesty any questions, solely “to make observations and tacitly invite her to reply.”)
Your complete coronation took about two hours, by Woman Anne’s estimate, after which it was a brief experience again to the palace, the place royal protocol fell by the wayside. “She took off her crown and put it on the desk. Prince Charles took it,” Woman Anne says. “Fortunately, a lady-in-waiting seized it. The queen thanked us and sat on her couch. It was such a reduction that it was over.”
Woman Anne remains to be friends with Queen Elizabeth. “I noticed her this summer time,” she says. “I do see her now and again.”