Memories of the Coronation

Originally post 31st May 2012

I was born when a King was on the throne of England, yet I remember nothing of him.

I do however remember the Queen’s coronation on 2nd June, 1953.

The King had died on 6th February, 1952 when the Queen actually succeeded the throne but it had taken till June of ’53 to prepare for all the pomp and circumstance.

I was 6 and lived in Ripon.

My Father was the Landlord of the St. Wilfrid’s Hotel in Ripon which was then on North Street, on the corner with Allhallowgate.

We had a television in the bar, but in those days children were certainly not allowed in Public Houses and it certainly was not the time of  ‘two television’ families so we thought at first we wouldn’t be able to watch the Coronation on TV.

Luckily a couple of doors away in North Street was the television and radio shop of  ‘Arthur Yates’. His elderly mother lived in a flat over the shop and she had a television. Now actually she may have even been younger than I am now but to a 6 year old, she was old!

All of the neighbours were invited and we sat round a 12 inch black and white television set.

I do remember the procession, the Gold coach, the uniforms, the horses.

I do remember the dulcet tones of Richard Dimbleby always speaking so calmly and grandly.

I do remember seeing Prince Charles who was such a little boy,  with Grandma (The Queen Mother) and Auntie (Princess Margaret).  Princess Anne was too young to attend.

I do remember all the ermine cloaked men and the maids in attendance in long white dresses and the shouting of  “God Save the Queen.”

I do remember all the Royal Family coming out onto the balcony of Buckingham Palace, the young children climbing up onto boxes so they could see over and wave to the throng in the Mall.

I remember having to be quiet and whether I actually was quiet I really cant remember.

I do remember eating party sandwiches and sitting on the floor in the flat over the television shop.

Now I can’t say I actually remember what was in the sandwiches but there would be boiled egg with salad cream, (I never tasted mayonnaise until my late 30’s), there would be tinned ham, (out of a triangular shaped tin), there would be tinned salmon (fresh salmon was another thing I had not tasted till my late 30’s)  and there may have been Spam. I certainly can remember the bread though and it was white sliced not in triangles, just cut in half, straight across the middle. I think there was cake too, probably a Victoria sandwich.

I remember the bunting up all over the streets, zig zagging between the houses, across the roads. There were street parties too, although we didn’t attend any.

There were celebrations at school and we were given a cup and saucer to commemorate the occasion.

I have it to this day.

One of these must have been my brother Richard’s, although he wasn’t old enough to go to school at this time, so where the second one actually came from, I don’t know.

I remember too,  going to the pictures a few weeks later, the Palladium in Ripon and watching the Coronation in ‘ glorious technicolor’. It was  Movietone News which was usually black and white but they pulled all the stops out, to show the British cinema-going public, how glorious and spectacular the whole remarkable event was.

Then there was a film made  in 1955 called ‘John and Julie’.  It was about two children who ran away to London to see the Queen’s Coronation. The film used footage of the Coronation and it sticks in my mind to this day.

I’ve just watched a clip of it on Youtube.  So dated but I still got the vibes that I remember from almost 60 years ago.

I am really looking forward to Sunday, 3rd June, 2012, to seeing the flotilla of boats sailing down on the Thames, with the Queen on board the launch which she previously used over many years when sailing on the Royal Yacht Brittania which is now moored at the Ocean Terminal, Leith, Edinburgh and a big tourist draw in Scotland.

This will be a amazing sight!

We visited London for a couple of days  in April last year and loved seeing all the trimmings for the Royal Wedding without actually being among the crowds for the actual wedding day.


                                   The Mall April, 2011

                                           Outside the Palace April, 2011

                                                              More April 2011

I am looking forward to all the television coverage of the Jubilee Concert from Buckingham Palace on Monday, 4th June, 2012.

I applied for tickets and would have got to London somehow for the event.

I was unsuccessful!

The picnic baskets look wonderful.  I would have loved to be there again.

In all the changes over the last 60 years, Queen Elizabeth II has been a constant in my life.

Send her victorious, happy and glorious , long to reign over us.  ‘God Save the Queen’

The memorabilia was kept by my Mum from 1953 until her death in 1992 when I became its keeper.

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