Monday, 21 January, 2019

Royal pain: Queen reveals downside of her 65-year reign

Queen Elizabeth II’s Imperial State Crown Queen Elizabeth II’s Imperial State Crown
Melinda Barton | 13 January, 2018, 08:04

They included the Black Prince's Ruby from the Imperial State Crown, which is thought to have been worn by Henry V in his helmet at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415.

"What was so lovely was that the Queen had no knowledge of it". She's a powerful woman with decades of secrets yet to be told.

The letters reveal how deep a hole was dug beneath a sally port, one of the secure entries to Windsor Castle, and two chambers constructed with steel doors.

And the trap door used to access the secret area where the artefacts were stored still exists today.

Her Majesty gave a rare insight into her life as head of state in upcoming BBC documentary The Coronation, set to air on Sunday night on BBC One.

The programme, a one-hour documentary which forms part of the Royal Collection series, also includes the Queen's personal footage showing, a voiceover remarks, "a more informal mood behind the scenes".

Her coronation, the following year, was watched by 27 million people in the United Kingdom and millions of others from around the world.

Speaking for the first time about her coronation 65 years ago, Britain's Queen Elizabeth has revealed how uncomfortable riding in her golden carriage to the ceremony was and how wearing the Imperial State Crown risked "breaking your neck".

Looking at the crown, the Queen said: 'Fortunately, my father and I have about the same sort of shaped head.

"But once you put it on, it stays", she said of the famous crown.

Bruce said the head has to be kept still when wearing it and the Queen agreed: "Yes. You know, it would have been up to about there when my father wore it", she said in the documentary, using her hand to show how big it used to be when her father wore it.

"What fascinated me is the idea of the royal librarian gauging out the Stewart Sapphire, the Black Princess Ruby, the Edward-the-Confessor sapphire, just gauging them out with a pen nearly, and a knife, and sticking them into this little circular tin, and getting them ready so that they could be rushed away to an even more secure place".

She said: "I remember one moment when I was going against the pile of the carpet and I couldn't move at all".

The Queen, 91, has described her journey to her coronation at Westminster Abbey in 1953, when she was just 25, as "horrible" due to the gold coach not being very comfortable.

The BBC has partnered with the Royal Collection Trust for the Royal Collection Season, and the hour-long documentary, named The Coronation, will air in the United Kingdom on Sunday.