Crowns, coronets and coronations


It was, I think Cecil Rhodes who, without a trace of irony, stated: “Remember that you are an Englishman, and have consequently won first prize in the lottery of life.”

He might have said those words with more than a hint of arrogance but as we see this week we are blessed with the continuity that a Constitutional Monarchy gives and pride we can have by being British.

With such a long pedigree as a nation it is not surprising that we have many traditions surrounding our Monarchs and some surprisingly remain with us to this day while alas many barmy ones have been abandoned. It is those curious and quirky anachronisms which bind us together and make us proud to live in this Sceptred Isle.

This is the first part of Coronation Trivia:

A Monarch’s spurs

Samuel Pepys loved to see a lady who ‘showed off her pretty, neat legs and ankles’, unfortunately for brandy-loving Queen Anne when her turn came to be crowned her ankles had grown too fat for a functionary to buckle on a new pair of spurs and so this quaint custom was abandoned.

Quiet at the back

When George III was crowned the service went on for so long – six hours – that the congregation decided they were hungry and sat down to eat, drowning out the ceremony with the clattering of their knives and forks.

Who nicked the silver?

When Charles II was to be crowned, marking the restoration of the monarchy, the ceremony had to be postponed as Cromwell had disposed of all the appropriate regalia.

Which finger?

The Archbishop of Canterbury is usually a fellow well past his prime, and thus it proved when Queen Victoria was crowned. The Coronation Ring had to be made smaller for her dainty finger, the incompedent cleric then jammed on ring on the wrong finger and as a result it got stuck and remained on the wrong finer for the rest of the ceremony.

Somebody has to clear up the mess

In 1953 after the Queen’s coronation, cleaning in the Abbey found three ropes of pearls, twenty brooches, six bracelets, twenty golden balls from peers’ coronets, most of a diamond necklace, numerous sandwich wrappers and an undisclosed but impressive quantity of empty half-bottles of spirits. It is not recorded who kept the booty.

4 thoughts on “Crowns, coronets and coronations”

  1. The whole concept of a monarchy is barmy and it is well past the time when ours should have been abandoned. Far from making me feel proud to be British, the Monarch and her dysfunctional family make me squirm with embarrassment.
    It is a great pity that Oliver Cromwell, having started so well, had a relapse and continued to promote the concept of monarchy. Instead of digging up his body and subjecting it to humiliation, that moral reprobate called Charles II should have expressed his gratitude to Cromwell.
    As long as that bunch of tossers remains on the throne, Britain remains a backward country morally and socially. I don’t blame Scotland for seeking its independence, just regret that England – or London – cannot do likewise.


    1. Before we go down the Republican rocky road we should remember that many presidents have hardly been the model of propriety. In America within our lifetimes we have had Nixon and Clinton, Ireland’s Charlie Haughey should never have been given the job, while our Gallic cousins have had to ensure Jacques Chirac. No I really don’t want that. Remember a Constitutional Monarchy doesn’t give the King power, it should reduce the complete authority of the current Prime Minister.


    1. Thanks for your comment. I would choose a constitutional monarchy over a republican any day. It’s not the power you give to the Queen but the power she denies the prime minister.


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