On the 60th anniversary of the Coronation
Yesterday was the 60th anniversary of the Coronation. You would, however, hardly have guessed from the TV and radio schedules; it was ignored altogether, with the honourable exception of BBC Four, which re-broadcast a remastered version of the original coverage ‘as it happened’. It is strange, in retrospect, that last year’s Jubilee celebrations were not held this year.
David Dimbleby’s doocumentary The People’s Coronation brought it vividly to life, from the five month’s refit of the Abbey to accommodate 8,000 guests, the wrangling between the Duke of Norfolk and the BBC over the coverage permitted, preparations and celebrations around the country, such as an ox roast in Ledbury that drew huge crowds in an age of austerity, all the way to the service itself. His father Richard gained his place in history as the Narrator Royal, not least with his consciously archaic comment, ‘The moment of the Queen’s crowning is come’, worthy of the Book of Common Prayer itself.
Like the marriage of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011, the Coronation showed how great royal occasions combine dignity and celebration on a grand scale, connecting us with our past. Their spirit of nobility and service exemplify an ideal to which all can aspire.