Procession in the Rain

In 1953 I was on National Service, stationed in Cambridge. We had leave on Coronation Day and off I went to London to see what I could, which wasn't much because of the pouring rain. I remember standing at Hyde Park Corner to wathc the procession. Most people, myself included, were making little jumps at frequent intervals to try and see over the heads of those in front.

When the royal coach came by, it was an anti-climax: the heavens opened even wider and the Queen and Duke passed in a complete blur. Glasses-wearers were especially disadvantaged.

So the clearest memory for me is of another Queen: Salote (Charlotte) of Tonga. The rain eased a little and there was this giant of a woman, in an open carriage, beaming at the crowd and waving her bare arms as hard as she could, while the people roared their appreciation. We were both loyal Britons and honorary Tongans that day.

John Dunstan