How Britain has changed since Elizabeth II was crowned in 1953
Somewhere in Britain, half a dozen people gathered at a farm to watch Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation on television. “It’s a tiring day for her. Two and a half hours in the Abbey. It’s the whole day really,” said one. “I expect she packs herself up a couple of sandwiches,” commented another. Someone added: “I wish some of the ladies-in-waiting would trip over—give us a bit of fun.” Then: “They put a canopy over her when she’s anointed, that’s nice for her.”
This scene, which was recorded by an informant for Mass Observation (a kind of benign sociological spy network), could be a clip from “The Royle Family”, a 1990s sitcom in which people sit around watching TV, or the more recent variation, “Gogglebox”. In 1953, as today, British viewers could not help but focus on the most mundane matters. Won’t the queen get hungry? Ooh, how nice that she gets a canopy. They were snarky, though stopping short of irreverence. In some ways they have not changed greatly since.
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