My memories of the Coronation
I was 5 years old when the Queen was crowned in 1953 - far too young to understand the social significance of a new and young Queen and quite unaware that she would become part of the fabric of my adult life as I have looked at her image nearly every day on the coins I use.
What I remember clearly is what happened that day.
My father had an office in Regent Street in London. Regent Street was on part of the royal procession route.
The office was over a jewellery shop. The shop had dark brown wooden shelves and with gold rings and jewellery on them. It was a very dark and menacing place that I did not like at all. There was a door at the side on the shop that opened into steep stairs that lef up to my Dad's office.
We arrived early on the day of the Coronation in order to avoid the worst of the crowds. I had no idea what avoiding the worst of the crowds meant but it must have been important because we got up so early.
My brother and sister were dressed in their very best clothes - their school uniforms - my sister had a panama hat with a red and white head-band and my brother had a black cap with a gold badge on it. They did not like wearing their uniforms but they had no other best clothes. I had not started school then so I had a dress to wear and my best navy blue coat with a velvet collar. Especially for the day my Dad had taken a TV to the office and put it on top of his filing cabinet - something virtually unheard of in the 1950s. We all watched the ceremony of the Coronation on the TV but I played with my cousin Susan for quite a lot of the time as we were not interested in the grainy, grey pictures. We both had gold toy crowns given to us for this important occasion.
The highlight of the day for me was the cardboard plates my mother gave us for our sandwiches at lunch time. I had never seen a cardboard plate before and I thought it was wonderful. We had cheese and tomato sandwiches and a packet of crisps each. In the 1950s the salt wasn't added to the crisps, instead inside each crisp packet there was a tiny blue twist of paper with salt in them. It was very exciting looking for the salt twist and them shaking the salt over the crisps - but sometimes there was no salt at all, which was always a big disappointment.
As my cousin Susan and I were the smallest in the family party gathered in the office, we had a very good spot pressed up against the mettle grill of a tiny balcony just off the office. We had the best view when it was time for the procession to go by. The shops and lamp-posts below us were decorated in bunting and the flags were big. We could see lots and lots of people on the street below us and it seemed such a long time before we saw soldiers on horses with red jackets, and big black boots riding below us. It was very noisy with the cheering and sound of the horse's hooves. At last, after another very, very long wait, we saw big grey horses pulling a gold coach, it was enormous. We had a lovely view of the top of it which people standing in the street would not have seen at all. I saw the one of the Queen's hands - she had white silk gloves on - and then she was gone.