Writing

Coronation Day,1953



                 
I am not ashamed to say that I love and admire our Queen.
We are of similar age, and my middle name is Elizabeth, after her.
When I was evacuated during the war and she broadcast on Children's Hour I truly believed that she was speaking to me, and had to work hard to hide my teenage tears when she said she knew how we missed our families.
I was very homesick,and believed that she knew and understood.

              
When I was in Africa I stayed at Treetops, the safari hotel where she first heard that her father was dead and she was Queen.
There is a big polished brass plate on the wall, telling the story.
She was a young wife and mother, and had to give up cosy family life and dedicate herself to our service.


I can remember her saying, in her young clear voice, that her whole life, whether long or short, would be given up to her work for her people, and she has faithfully kept her word for sixty long years.
I have quite a few pictures and accounts of the celebrations that greeted our Queen's coronation.
They are full of colour, smiling faces everywhere,flags and jewels and jubilation.


London was visited by thousands of people, all happy and excited, if sometimes damp.
Many of them slept on the pavements overnight, in order to get a good position to see the famous golden coach and our new young Queen.
In fact, for me, the day began at 5am,when I crept down to a cold kitchen with a bucket full of nappies and began to heat a kettle on my tiny gas stove.
This is very much what it looked like.

                        
It was a damp, drizzly morning.Food was still rationed.
Clothes were rationed- many people sent their clothing coupons to Buckingham Palace,for the coronation robes.
Every family was given extra butter and sugar for their coronation celebrations.


Life was not yet back to normal after the war.
If you went into London you would find many open bomb-sites ,still with piles of rubble and rubbish,overgrown with weeds. Children loved to play on the ruins.

                          
Certainly our lives were more simple.
We didnt have so many luxuries.
Most people in Dagenham did not have a washing machine,central heating or television,and disposable nappies hadn't been invented.
There was a copper in the kitchen and you had to heat the water and pump it up to the bathroom once a week with a wooden handle, for the weekly bath.
Mary, my new baby, was a month old, and every day I had to wash her terry towelling nappies by hand in a bowl in the sink, and dry them on a wooden clothes-horse by the fire if the weather was wet.


I was hoping for two things; first, that she wouldnt wake up for at least an hour, and second, that I would be able to listen to the coronation on the wireless.
We did have a wireless, but it didnt always work; it was temperamental.

                  
Every now and then, always at the most interesting part of a play or talk, all sound would cease, and I had to hurry to the front room doorway and jump on one of the floorboards, when it would come back.
I only heard bits of the coronation service!

For those who had a television, the Coronation was an opportunity to have a good feed,and share with family and neighbours.
I know my Mum had quite a crowd in, and my Auntie Dorothy did the same.
They made paste sandwiches and little cakes and cups of tea for all.
Auntie Dorothy's TV set was a big piece of shiny wood furniture, although the screen was about twelve inches wide, and of course the picture was black and white.

                                                
I can remember all of us sitting round and watching, amazed at the wonders of science!

During her Coronation Year, the Queen travelled a great deal, leaving her two young children with their Grandmother, and went to many parts of Great Britain to meet her people.
There were bonfires, street parties and festivals acrooss the land.
She has not always had an easy job; she has had four children,and travelled all over the world.

                                       
Every day she has to sign a boxful of State papers, she sees the Prime Minister every single week, and she has to entertain visitors, open hospitals, attend performances and make speeches and above all, take an interest.

I am very, very glad I am not a queen !


Well, not a real one!

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