Sunday, June 2, 2013

Coronation of Elizabeth II

Some thoughts. To quote:
In seeking to understand how Her Majesty has done it – how she still does it at the age of 87 – I think one has to look to her belief in God.

She was brought up by a mother who was taught by her own mother (Lady Strathmore) to believe in three things: love of God, love of family, love of country; as well as cherishing a sense of duty, Princess Elizabeth inherited all those commitments.

In advance of her Coronation, she said: “I want to ask you all, whatever your religion may be, to pray for me… to pray that Christ may give me wisdom and strength to carry out the solemn promises I shall be making, and that I may faithfully serve him, and you, all the days of my life.”

That prayer, that commitment, has informed her and guided her always.

One of the most difficult questions was whether to allow the newfangled machinery of television into Westminster Abbey to transmit the great event live. This was a momentous decision. The Queen was at first against the idea, fearing the eyes of the world on her every facial movement and on possible mistakes. These were sacred rituals, surely not to be flashed live around the country and thence at once around the world.
Churchill agreed with her. The great war leader had been aghast at the death of the King and worried that he barely knew his new monarch. He need not have worried; in a romantic, chivalrous manner, he fell instantly in love with her. Although she has always been careful never to say that she liked one premier more than another, her affection for Churchill was enduring. Their weekly meetings, she once said, were “always such fun”.

When the decision to keep television cameras away from the Abbey was announced in October 1952, there were immediate protests from the BBC (which had a TV monopoly in those days) and clear disappointment from the public.

The Queen gave way, insisting only that there should be no close-ups of her face at the most sacred moments of all – when she was anointed and took Communion. She wanted her moments with God to remain unseen by the world.

The sales of television sets duly soared, and on the day some 27 million out of Britain’s then population of 36 million are thought to have watched the extraordinary ritual on their small, grainy black-and-white screens.
Prince Philip was put in charge of organising the Coronation – a good idea, since it was harder for him than anyone to adjust to the new status of his wife. An independent and strong-willed man, he now found himself incarcerated in the Court, unable suddenly to continue with his successful naval career.

As the Coronation approached through early 1953, excitement grew. Houses were painted red, white and blue, and thousands of street parties were planned. Over a million people came to London to share in the excitement, which even rain did not dampen; they cheered the Princess as she was pulled to the Abbey in the Gold State Coach by eight grey horses, one of them named Eisenhower.
Marching in her Coronation parade with her were 50,000 soldiers from more than 50 countries, including India, Pakistan, Malaya, Fiji, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Tented camps were built for them in Hyde Park.

She wore the diadem of her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, and a white satin gown embroidered with symbols of Britain and the Commonwealth. Beside her sat Prince Philip in his naval uniform. At the door of the Abbey they parted, for ever to be separated by rank, though not by love. In the service, he knelt before her and pledged to be her “liegeman of life and limb and earthly worship”. Ever since, he has proved a remarkable, essential consort. He has been, in the Queen’s later words, “my strength and stay all these years”. (Read entire article.)

1 comment:

lara77 said...

I said a prayer for Her Majesty yesterday; the anniversary of her Coronation. How blessed Britain has been to have Elizabeth II as such a wonderful example of duty and service. God Bless Her Britannic Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the great British People who cherish their glorious traditions.