BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Talking Point  
News Front Page
Middle East
South Asia
Talking Point
Country Profiles
In Depth
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
Friday, 7 June, 2002, 10:17 GMT 11:17 UK
Your memories of Coronation Day
It was 50 years ago that the young Princess Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth II.

Although it would be a year before the full ceremony of her Coronation, 1952 marked the beginning of a long and continuing reign over the United Kingdom.

Do you have any memories of that year? What can you remember of the build-up towards that momentous day?

What can you remember of the young Queen in her first years on the throne finding her way into the role?

Tell us your stories using the form below.

This Talking Point has now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

My husband and I watched the parade in the Mall today on TV and saw the very spot where we were in a taxi heading for Victoria Station a few days before the Coronation and the driver had asked if we would like to let our children, then 4 and 15 months, see the decorations. Well, we saw more than just the fabulously decorated Pall Mall, because we remained stuck there for three plus hours along with thousands of others.The taxi driver had turned the meter off soon after we had arrived there and sat the two boys on the roof of his vehicle so that they could see everything there was to see. He finally managed to get us away when an ambulance was let through and we were able to creep in behind it as the crowds parted. What a wonderful night we had to remember and the driver did get us to Victoria Station in time to catch the last train to Riddlesdown.

Today we felt so very proud of being called "Brits" here in Canada and have never seen our Queen look so happy, so well and so much a Monarch. I must also say that, where in the world would one see a crowd of a million people behave in such an orderly fashion and be controlled by only a small number of policemen after the parade as they moved forward toward Buckingham Palace - only in England!
Patricia Cumberland, B.C. Canada

I was 10 years old and was so thrilled to see this beautiful princess in her golden coach. The day after the coronation my class went on a field trip to Tintwhistle and all the girls sang a song about the Golden Coach and a heart of gold. My family splurged out and bought this huge TV with a tiny screen, and we had the neighbours in to watch the Coronation. I have lived in Canada for 37 years but still love the British traditions and especially our Queen. God Save the Queen
Julie Grant, Canada

In the morning rushing to the stands outside of Westminster Abbey where we had tickets, to see the Princess go to be crowned. In the afternoon I remember standing in the pouring rain in Oxford Street, then being lifted up onto some strangers shoulder for a decent view. The cheering and the soldiers, the coaches and the horses, and the Queen in her Golden Coach. What a day! I still have the photo of me dressed in a 'Cowboy Outfit', posed along with the other kids from our block of flats in front of the bombsite next door.
Barry P, England

I was 5 at the time, and still remember the fascination and excitement

Eleanor Sanders, Canada
Dad hadn't been home long from working 2 years in Nigeria, and had invited friends over to watch the Coronation. Just before the coverage began, a big black car arrived in the flats, out came 3 Nigerians in full national costume. I was 5 at the time, and still remember the fascination and excitement this caused. Still have my plate, cup and saucer & cutlery from the Coronation party.
Eleanor Sanders, Canada.

I was a member of a family struggling in a rough part of Birmingham to survive. Our area of Ward End bore the scars of war, the streets were filthy. But lo and behold, the Queen was to be driven down Washwood Heath Road and all of a sudden the main Road was cleaned up by the council. At least we got the Streets cleaned that day and thank you Ma'am for causing that.
Bob Newcomb, UK now NZ

Remember as 5-6 year old huge party and fireworks in RAF HQ in Germany...& mountains of Ice Cream!
Tim Laslett, Surrey UK

We all shouted 'We want the Queen' till she appeared on the balcony.

Fay Hassid, UK
I was there!! Sitting on a little collapsible seat on the kerb, outside what was then Marshall & Snelgrove in Regent Street. The procession didn't pass us till after the actual Coronation so we had a long, wet wait. But it was worth it ! She looked so lovely. What a wonderful day. I am sure there will never be another like it. Later that evening we walked down the Mall to join the crowd in front of the Palace... There must have been thousands. We all shouted 'We want the Queen' till she appeared on the balcony. I remember, and will never forget, when we all sang Land of Hope & Glory . Wonderful memories !
Fay Hassid, UK

I was stationed in the British Crown colony of Bermuda in 1952 during this event. I was at a hotel which announced with pride that it had an early newsreel just flown in which they would show. During this showing one patriotic fellow in the audience stood at attention saluting the entire time of the ceremony until he collapsed. I think he had been drinking.
Stephen B, US

I remember Coronation day as the biggest tea party I have seen and the friendliness between neighbours who co-operated together without complaint. When I think of rationing and the way neighbours overcame the difficulty with no lack of resolve to have a good time, it convinces me that street parties should be encouraged as an annual event in one's locality.
Lilian Williams, United Kingdom

I was spellbound

Bonnie Kemp, US
I remember the Coronation well; I was standing in front of a store which sold televisions (we didn't have one yet) and saw the Queen walking in this gorgeous robe, and heard the most beautiful music. I was spellbound, being 12 years old, I felt almost sacred as I watched this lovely young lady so elegantly walking. She was absolutely magnificent! I felt as if I were the only person in the world watching, that's how special I felt at that time... shall never forget that as long as I live. How I wish I could be there now!
Bonnie Kemp, US

Happy memories of my boyhood in Havana. My parents woke me up early morning because of the time difference, to join them watching the spectacular event. The publicity combined the enthusiasm and the admiration in Cuba for the new monarch, with the popularity of television as a new technology. The occasion offered a showpiece for Cuba's TV industry, then the most advanced in Latin America. Pomp, tradition, solemnity and joyful cheering crowds impressed me the most of the ceremony and the procession. May God give Queen Elizabeth many more and healthy years.
Andres Castellanos, US

I was 19 and serving in the Royal Air Force. It became our duty for the Coronation to make a flarepath from Bexhill on Sea to Buckingham Palace to guide the flypast. We took up our posts on the airfield very early in the morning to prepare our target indicator (flare bomb). It rained all day and by the time the flypast eventually took place we were very well soaked. That same evening, we performed a firework display and set a bonfire for the children of the village and the camp. At 21:00 our armament officer said a very sincere thank you to us all and told us that we could go home for three-day holiday. I and my colleagues were very proud to have been a part of this great day and I still regard the Queen with a great deal of respect and affection.
John Warner, UK

I was a schoolboy in Hong Kong

Sandy Ma, Canada
I was a schoolboy in Hong Kong watching the official Coronation parade. I remember each of us were given a gigantic aluminium mug with the royal insignia on it, thanked to the generosity of the colonial government! Perhaps the then governor figured if we went hungry or starving, we could always make good use of that mug - either to beg for loose changes or ask for more porridge, as Oliver Twist had done!
Sandy Ma, Canada

My brother, who was with the US air forces there was a member of the Honour Guard and stood very near HER as she exited the Abbey after the Coronation. I would like to see a picture of that event to see if I can find him in the lineup.
Patty Mackey, USA

Dad bought the special issue of Paris-Match magazine

Max Auguste, USA
I was seven at the time, living in Haiti. We had no electricity yet. But my Dad bought the special issue of Paris-Match magazine of the Coronation. I read the articles and looked at the pictures so many times that even today I can still recall many details.
Max Auguste, USA

My first baby daughter was born that year making it a very eventful year for me and watching the Queen being crowned was an awesome sight. She was so young and self-controlled. I watched in pride and loved all the pomp and ceremony which was so spectacular and made me very proud of my English heritance. Long live our gracious Queen.
Frieda Gibson, Canada

My Mum and Dad took us to London to visit, we thought, Uncle Jim and Auntie Bet, but we went to see the Queen. I was six at the time but I remember it all - the rain, the crowds, Queen of Tonga, the only person whose carriage was open! The mounted police from Canada, the black horses and red coats, Princess Margaret - heady stuff for a six-year-old. I wish I was in England again instead of Tucson, Arizona.
Patricia Knoblauch, US

It was a feeling of camaraderie that I have never experienced since

Alan Bowman, England
I remember the Coronation vividly because I lived on a council estate in North Drumry, Clydebank and my dad and one other man in our street had a TV, the old Cosser set. We had one half of the street in our house watching and the kids all sat at the front with the mums and dads sitting or standing behind. People came and went bringing sandwiches and drinks with them and it was a real feeling of camaraderie that I have never experienced since. She and the Queen Mother have been marvellous over the last 50 years but I doubt very much if Charles or any others of the Royal Family will ever do so much for Royalty in the future.
Alan Bowman, England

Early in 1952 I purchased a TV (12" screen) from Curry's which cost 50. Made my own 'H' ariel and connected. It was terrific! Transmission between 20:00 and 22:00 was the norm. Then we learned that the Coronation I was to be broadcast in full. Well, my parents, who had not viewed a TV before were absolutely amazed. Dad got some bottled beer in and Mum made loads of sandwiches etc. We sat around the TV and watched the opening ceremony, with voice-over from that dear man, Richard Dimbleby. I recall, we were thrilled to bits. We sat in front of that TV for eight and a half hours. And here we are now, some 50 years on and going to watch the Golden Jubilee celebrations of our Queen, who still looks wonderful at 76 years, and intends to carry on working. Well done!
B. Clyde, Nottingham UK

My grandfather had managed to obtain two tickets for the stand outside Westminster Abbey

Suzy Duncan, London, UK
I was nine years old at the time and my parents had rented their first TV set. I was truly blessed as my grandfather had managed to obtain two tickets for the stand outside Westminster Abbey. My mother and I arrived very early (we had to) and I remember getting very bored waiting a long time. The procession was glorious to see and the Queen of Tonga made a big impression on many of us, but Queen Elizabeth II in her golden coach was a sight I shall never ever forget. The pageantry and excitement was the best I'd had (or have ever had - even though I still live in greater London). It was amazing to see all those soldiers, sailors and airmen all lining up with such precision!
Suzy Duncan, London, UK

A friend and I went up to London in her boyfriend's lovely old Bentley. We then spent the night sleeping on the street, I cannot remember which one. Come morning we went to find the "properly appointed place," (Cyril Fletcher) and the square behind us had been set up with "ladies and gents". Long queues and more women than men. WVS ladies would go by and mutter something and after about the third time of muttering I realised that she was saying standing up or sitting. One acted accordingly and it was not easy to keep one's balance in the "gents". Eventually the Queen went by and it was all worth the adventure.
Angela McLean, USA

There were a lot of crowds and cheering when some cars came past

Frank Barnes, USA
I remember getting up early that morning and everyone was excited - what about I did not know. I sat on my father's shoulders and had a Union Jack flag that I was told to wave. There were a lot of crowds and cheering when some cars came past. My grandmother said she could see the Queen, but I can't honestly say I knew what the Queen was at that age. The moment was obviously memorable as I was about a year old at the time.
Frank Barnes, USA

I stood outside the Palace on the night after Coronation Day, a small nine-year-old, in a pair of my 16-year-old (boy) cousin's huge corduroy short trousers, and revelled in joining in with the shouts of "We want the Queen!" She came out three times on to the balcony. I was missing my five-year-old brother, who was in hospital with what we soon discovered was polio. He was one of thousands of victims of that last great epidemic in 1953, just before Jonas Salk produced his vaccine.
Veronica Lowe, England

I watched the Coronation on television in Toronto (one of my earliest television memories) and for years wondered why one of the people approaching the Queen during the ceremony was allowed to kiss her.
Richard Hills, Canada

On Coronation day my parents took me and my two sisters to a friend's house to watch the ceremony on a small black and white TV. We were there all day and I vividly remember seeing the Queen in her anointing clothes and being under a canopy during this part when she was not seen by anyone. I still remember them cheering "God save the Queen" after she was crowned. I was seven, nearly eight then, and it is amazing how fifty years have gone by.
Lillian Touba (nee Mann), Scotland

We had one disaster when the TV sets went on the blink

Paul Jones, Canada
I was a student and I had been working for John Lewis of Regent Street in my summer vacation. I had returned to college when I received a letter saying that my name had been picked in a draw to look after the tourists who were using the John Lewis windows to watch the procession and paying handsomely for it. I had been sent a pass which let me through the barrier which had been erected and allowed me into the store. Seats had been placed in the windows and television sets distributed so we could watch the ceremony.

The tourists were mostly American and my duty was to serve them chicken, champagne and strawberries and cream. We had one disaster when the TV sets went on the blink and I was frantically phoning for a technician to come and fix them. I found a window all to myself and just as I arrived Winston Churchill's carriage went by and he leaned out and waved. I went home well lubricated with John Lewis champagne and satiated with far more chicken and strawberries and cream than the paying guests had received.
Paul Jones, Canada

It was all very exciting

Rosemary Pettersson, Sweden
I remember so well how we went on a special day's outing with the school to Windsor Great Park and the borough of Heston and Isleworth gave us all a commemorative book about the Queen. I was just nine and very royalist and Coronation Day was a day to wear my new red, white and blue dress, watch TV all day round the small black and white screen at a neighbour's house with the rest of the street and to have fairy cakes with red white and blue icing on! It was all very exciting and seemed to last a long time.
Rosemary Pettersson, Sweden

I was three and watched the Queen's Coronation on the television with my parents. My father went out into the garage and made me a gold crown to wear, made out of cardboard.
Marilyn, UK

I remember watching the Coronation on TV. I think it was the first time I had seen a television. I wanted to go up to Green Park and stand with the crowds to feel the excitement, but my grandmother thought I was too young! Even though I have now lived in the US longer than I did in the UK, I still feel homesick when I hear the Queen speak.
Margaret Peaty, USA

I remember it like it was yesterday. She was so beautiful, like a fairy princess. The whole office where I was working just ground to a halt. I'll never forget it.
Jan Overstreet, USA

Key stories



See also:

03 Jan 02 | UK
19 Mar 02 | Entertainment
30 Apr 02 | UK Politics
Links to more Talking Point stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Talking Point stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |