In very candid remarks, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II has shed light on some behind-the-scenes details of her 1953 coronation, including the challenging task of making sure that the more than 4-pound State Imperial Crown didn’t fall off her head during the once-in-a-lifetime ceremony.
“You can’t look down to read the speech; you have to take the speech up. Because if you did, your neck would break — it would fall off,” the 91-year-old monarch says in a new documentary, aptly titled The Coronation, airing on Sunday, People magazine wrote.
“So there are some disadvantages to crowns, but otherwise they’re quite important things,” she added.
Even though the height of the Imperial Crown was slightly lowered for her after the death of her father, King George VI, its diameter remained the same.
“Fortunately, my father and I have about the same sort of shaped head, but once you put it on, it stays. I mean it just remains on,” the Queen notes.
Shown watching archival footage in the documentary, the Queen also recalls how her heavily embroidered gown bristling with pearls and gold-and-silver thread and the thick carpet then came together to hold her back.
“I remember one moment when I was going against the pile of the carpet and I couldn’t move at all,” she says.
One of the Britain’s Crown Jewels, the Imperial State Crown has existed in various forms since the 15th century. The current version was made in 1937 and is worn by the monarch after a coronation (St. Edward’s Crown having been used to crown the monarch) and used at the annual State Opening of Parliament.
The crown is adorned with 2,901 precious stones, including the Cullinan II diamond, St. Edward’s Sapphire, the Stuart Sapphire, and the Black Prince’s Ruby.
St. Edward’s Crown, used to crown English monarchs, is considered to be a holy relic. It is housed in the saint's shrine at Westminster Abbey and therefore not worn by monarchs at any other time.