Memories of the 1953 Coronation - Tony Cunnane's Afterthoughts

Tony Cunnane's Afterthoughts
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Memories of the 1953 Coronation

This piece was written on 15 January 2018

I’ve just watched the BBC1 programme “The Coronation” which was shown last night. It seems to me to have been an odd date to broadcast it since the 65th Anniversary of the Coronation is not until 2nd June. One can only speculate why the BBC could not wait until then. At least we can be assured that the documentary will doubtless be replayed on 2nd June 2018 – either before or after the complete replay of the actual 1953 event. The black and white recording of the actual Coronation broadcast has already been played in full several times in recent decades. At least one replay I remember watching was re-shown in full to coincide with the exact timings of the real Coronation, although I seem to recall that I didn't watch it to the end on that occasion.

Above: Coronation Day as recorded in my diary - my 1,249th diary page. The first paragraph, about the British climbers reaching the summit of Mount Everest was what today we call "breaking news" although it had, apparently, taken four days to reach UK from Nepal - and Hillary was the only name mentioned in that first 'newsflash'.

We didn’t have a TV because Dad couldn’t afford to buy one, although the following day he found some money and we became possibly the only family in the UK to buy a television set on the day after the Coronation.
My main memory of the 1953 Coronation TV broadcast, apart from the event itself, was the sequence showing Queen Salote of Tonga proceeding along the Mall in her open carriage in pouring rain.  We didn’t know at the time why she did not carry at least an umbrella. Only later did we, and presumably everyone else who sympathised with this large, cheerful but obviously drenched lady, learn that Tongan custom dictates that " should not imitate the actions of persons one is honouring" (in this case, of course, Queen Elizabeth II).

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