Sunday, June 2, 2013

Queen's Coronation anniversary: A medieval rite for the modern world

From The Telegraph-

There’s nothing new about austerity. At the Coronation on June 2, 1953, there was a careful balancing act between regal spectacle and careful spending – sugar and meat rationing was still in force, eight years after the War had ended.

The 2,964 square yards of gold and blue Glaswegian carpet laid along Westminster Abbey’s medieval floor were later sliced into pieces to fit Anglican churches across the world. The timber boards used for the platforms for the 8,251 spectators in the abbey were sliced to lengths that could be recycled for the building trade.

Still, there was room for enough majesty to suit the most important ceremonial occasion in the British historical calendar. You don’t actually need a coronation to become a monarch – the Queen succeeded to the throne the moment her father died, 16 months before the Coronation, in February 1952; Edward V and Lady Jane Grey were deposed before they were crowned, and Edward VIII abdicated before his coronation.

But it was the 1953 Coronation, planned by the Earl Marshal, the Duke of Norfolk, that provided the Queen with a formal initiation rite and an investiture with her official regalia. It was a public display, too, of the Queen’s spiritual and constitutional role, stamping her place in a 900-year-long chain of coronations in Westminster Abbey.

She was the 39th sovereign to be crowned at the abbey; the first was William the Conqueror, whose coronation took place on Christmas Day, 1066.

More here-

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