BBC One has announced The Coronation, an hour-long film revealing to new generations the compelling story of the Crown Jewels and the ancient ceremony for which they are used
As part of the film, to mark the 65th anniversary of Her Majesty The Queen’s Coronation, The Queen shares memories of the ceremony as well as that of her father, King George VI, in 1937. The Crown Jewels, which form part of the Royal Collection, consist of 140 items and contain 23,000 precious stones. These sacred objects form the most complete collection of royal regalia in the world.
The Royal Collection Season, a major partnership between the BBC and Royal Collection Trust, reveals the fascinating history of the Royal Collection - one of the largest and most important art collections in the world - bringing both the masterpieces and some of the lesser-known works of art, and the stories behind them, to audiences across Britain.
Exploring the role and symbolic meaning of the Crown Jewels in the centuries-old coronation ceremony, The Coronation shows these objects of astonishing beauty in new high-resolution footage. The film tells the extraordinary story of St Edward’s Crown, which was destroyed after the English Civil War and remade for the Coronation of Charles II in 1661. It has only been worn by Her Majesty once, at the moment she was crowned.
On 2 June 1953, on one of the coldest June days of the century and after 16 months of planning, The Queen set out from Buckingham Palace to be crowned at Westminster Abbey, watched by millions of people throughout the world. A ceremony dating back more than a thousand years was to mark the dawn of a new Elizabethan age.
Viewing both private and official film footage, The Queen recalls the day when the weight of both St Edward’s Crown and the hopes and expectations of a country recovering from war were on her shoulders, as the nation looked to their 27 year-old Queen to lead them into a new era. In the film, The Queen says: “I’ve seen one Coronation, and been the recipient in the other, which is pretty remarkable.”
For audiences unfamiliar with the story of the Crown Jewels and the regalia, the film explains their contemporary relevance to the UK as a nation and to the enduring purpose and the work of monarchy. They are symbols of the relationship between the Sovereign and the people, and the duties and responsibilities of leadership.
The film also features eyewitness accounts of those who participated in the 1953 Coronation, including a maid of honour who nearly fainted in the Abbey, and a 12 year-old choirboy who was left to sing solo when his overwhelmed colleagues lost their voices.
Coronation expert and key contributor Alastair Bruce says: “The Crown Jewels include The Regalia, which are used at a coronation, when the monarch is invested with the best known, if least understood, symbols of this kingdom.”
Charlotte Moore, BBC Director of Content, says: “It is a real honour to have Her Majesty The Queen revealing her intimate knowledge of the Crown Jewels, and fond childhood memories from when her father was crowned King George VI, in this very special film for BBC One. In her own words, The Queen will bring to life the enduring symbolic importance of the Coronation ceremonies for modern audiences to enjoy.”
The Royal Collection season continues this week with Art, Passion & Power: The Story of the Royal Collection on BBC Four, a four-part series , in which Andrew Graham-Dixon reveals some of the most spectacular works of art in the Royal Collection.
This is a collection that includes world-famous masterpieces by Van Dyck, Rembrandt, Canaletto and unrivalled collections of exquisite drawings by Holbein and Leonardo da Vinci. From grand sculpture and some of the most remarkable furniture ever made to Tudor miniatures and the extravagant creations of Fabergé.
Andrew Graham-Dixon will explain what the objects meant to the artists who created them and to the royal collectors who acquired them. For centuries, the Royal Collection has helped the monarchy to perform its duty while also projecting its tastes, priorities and concerns.
The Coronation will be on Sunday on BBC One at 8pm. Art, Passion & Power: The Story of the Royal Collection is on Tuesday on BBC Four at 9pm.