A new BBC One documentary is to feature The Queen discussing her coronation and the famous Crown Jewels; it will air later this month.
The Queen speaks to royal commentator and royal herald, Alistair Bruce, for the show, entitled ‘The Coronation’, remembering the day she was crowned, as well as the coronation of her father, George VI, in 1937.
The 60-minute film has been made to mark the 65th anniversary of The Queen’s Coronation on 2nd June 2018, in conjunction with the Royal Collection Trust, which looks after most a cast array of historically important royal items – including the Crown Jewels.
The Queen views footage of those important days – both private and public – full of ancient tradition and symbolism. She says: “I’ve seen one Coronation, and been the recipient in the other, which is pretty remarkable.”
We will see Her Majesty with St Edward’s Crown, which she has only seen a couple of times in the flesh: at her coronation, when she opened the Jewel House at the Tower of London in 1994, and for this documentary. We can also suspect that she had some time with the centuries-old crown prior to the coronation too.
St Edward’s Crown was made back in 1661 for Charles II’s coronation by jeweller Sir Robert Vyner. The original, created in 13th century, was melted down during the Commonwealth of Oliver Cromwell.
The Imperial State Crown is the piece we see The Queen in most often, at the State Opening of Parliament. It was also this piece she wore for her coronation portraits, switching from St Edward’s before she left Westminster Abbey. There is, however, an image of her wearing it.
We will also see eyewitness accounts from the event, including a maid of honour who nearly fainted in the Abbey, and a 12 year-old choirboy who was left to sing solo, after his fellow singers lost their voices in the anxiety and excitement of the day.
Charlotte Moore, BBC Director of Content, says: “It is a real honour to have Her Majesty The Queen revealing her intimate knowledge of the Crown Jewels, and fond childhood memories from when her father was crowned King George VI, in this very special film for BBC One. In her own words, The Queen will bring to life the enduring symbolic importance of the Coronation ceremonies for modern audiences to enjoy.”
Coronation expert and key contributor Alastair Bruce says: “The Crown Jewels include The Regalia, which are used at a coronation, when the monarch is invested with the best known, if least understood, symbols of this kingdom. Post boxes, Police helmets, Income Tax Returns and almost every visual expression of the United Kingdom displays a Crown and Orb.
“The meaning of each of the key objects has evolved from emblems of authority that date way back before the Saxons arrived. Yet there is an enduring relevance to modern leadership wrapped into each symbol that express values of humility, duty and service, while representing total power. Discovering their meaning helps to define what the Sovereign is to the Crown and how that Crown is the property of us all, in the constitutional function of Monarchy.”
‘The Coronation’ is to form part of a royal season on the BBC; other shows will take a look at the Royal Collection itself and Charles I’s collection of art, which eventually formed the collection.
You can watch the show on 14th January at 8pm on BBC One. It will also be shown in the USA and Australia.