Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Queen Elizabeth gets candid about 'disadvantages to crowns'

Queen Elizabeth gets candid about 'disadvantages to crowns'

The documentary has also revealed some of the most valuable gemstones of the British crown jewels were kept hidden underground in a biscuit tin during World War II.

In a rare on-air interview, the queen recounts her 1953 coronation with remarkable candor.

The Queen, who spent her war years at Windsor Castle for safety, was aware of the general story but did not know the details until told by royal commentator Alastair Bruce.

It is much lighter than the 4.9lbs gold St Edward's Crown - which is used for the moment of crowning - and is decorated with 444 precious and semi-precious stones, with Baroque arches.

Thompson even had a couple of corgis accompanying her in her royal week out, the signature companions of the real queen.

Meanwhile, the Smithsonian Channel is airing a special to mark the 65th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth's coronation.

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The crown was made for George VI's coronation in 1937 and is set with 2,868 diamonds including 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds and hundreds of pearls, including four known as Queen Elizabeth I's earrings.

Her Majesty not only speaks about her own coronation but her father's, King George VI as well, saying: "It's the sort of, I suppose, the beginning of one's life really as a sovereign", she said.

Despite the physical discomfort her coronation caused, the queen recognizes the event's significance. "You have to take the speech up because if you did, your neck would break and [the crown] would fall off". She recalled the Coronation journey from the palace to Westminster Abbey.

Apparently the royal golden carriage was also pretty uncomortable - or to use the Queen's word, "horrible".

"You can't look down to read the speech, you have to take the speech up", she added. "But once you put it on, it stays". Anxious that the weight of the elaborate jewels at the centrepiece of her crown would injure her neck, she quips: "So there are some disadvantages to crowns, but otherwise they're quite important things". "I mean, it just remains itself".

Here is the Queen watching archive footage of the momentous day and revealing the sense of history, and humour, that has characterised her reign.

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