Woman recalls 'special day' of last coronation

time:2023-06-03 02:47:13source:BBC News (British Broadcasting Corporation) author:Press center 1

As millions of people across the UK and beyond prepare to celebrate the coronation of King Charles III, a woman has been remembering turning out for the same ceremony for his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.

Sarah Russell, 85, of Plymouth, went to London in 1953 with her mother and sister to watch the event, saying "it was a special day".  

She is looking forward to Saturday's coronation and still has clear memories of the time she, aged 15, and her family set off "very early" on a train to the capital.

"When we got there, all the posters were telling us that Hillary and Tenzing [Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay] had conquered Everest," she said.

"Somehow, right from the beginning, it was a special day; it somehow just set the scene."

On first seeing the Queen's procession at Hyde Park, her sister managed to get to the front of the crowd "because she was shorter".

She said: "And then it started to rain and a soldier lent her his cape.

"The big crescendo was when we knew the Queen was coming in her coach. There was terrific support.

"Later on, when we went to see them on the balcony [at Buckingham Palace], the crowds were everywhere and there was jubilation and there were flags."

She said there "was no hint, which there might be this time, of any group, saying: 'We're republican, we don't want this.'"

She added: "No, it was absolutely unanimous, and people had come from all over to be there."

But the day and the excitement did take their toll.

"When it was all over, my mother said: 'Oh, I'd just love a cup of tea!'" she said.

King Charles's ceremony, combining a religious service and pageantry, is being held at Westminster Abbey when the King, who will be crowned along with Camilla, the Queen Consort, will be the 40th reigning monarch crowned there since 1066.

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