The Queen Opens the Vault on Her Coronation

Asked if she was in the carriage for a long time, she replied dryly, “Halfway around London.”

The big day began with her parading around the British capital, going from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey and stopping at Trafalgar Square.

Mr. Bruce told InStyle: “There is a tradition in the English coronation that if you have a monarch who slips or drops something or anything like that — in fact, Richard II’s slipper fell off when he was being carried back to bed because he had fallen asleep during the ceremony, and everyone saw that as a bad omen.

“That sort of pressure that you mustn’t make an error, for the first time being filmed and televised to the world: This is a huge challenge, I would imagine, for anybody to perform without fault through a medieval ceremony that has unbelievable symbolism and meaning.”


The version of the Imperial State Crown the queen wore after her coronation had also been worn by her father and was slightly altered for her.

Pool photo by Eddie Mulholland

The crown was too big for her head.

And heavy.

The version of the Imperial State Crown that the queen wore at the end of the ceremony was also donned by her father, George VI, at his coronation in 1937.

It is set with 2,868 diamonds, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds and hundreds of pearls. It features a gemstone known as the Black Prince’s Ruby, believed to have been worn by Henry V at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415.

The rest of her regalia was already a handful, but the crown was its own challenge. So she practiced wearing it before the coronation, while going about her ordinary day, such as reading the newspaper or taking tea.

The crown, which she has worn for most state openings of Parliament since the coronation, was adapted slightly after the death of her father, with its arches lowered to create a smaller, more…

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