LONDON – The United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth II was heard on Friday speaking of the risks associated with wearing the British Imperial State crown, explaining its precious stones make it very heavy to wear, along with other memories she wished to share in a unique BBC production.
The British sovereign does not concede interviews to the press, but spoke exclusively to the BBC for the recording of “The Coronation,” a documentary on the British Crown jewels and the other regalia scheduled for broadcast this Sunday, of which brief extracts were available today.
“You can’t look down to read the speech, you’ve got to take the speech up, if you don´t your neck would break, it would fall off,” the Queen said referring to the annual ceremony of the opening of the British parliament, and the state speech where she reads the Government’s program.
“There are some disadvantages to crowns but, otherwise they are quite important things,” Queen Elizabeth added with a smile evocating her coronation on June 2, 1953, one year after her father King George VI died.
A crown is the symbol of a 2000-year-old concept of a kingdom, a halo of light representing the head of state and a visible expression of the relationship between sovereign and subject.
Other main artifacts of a British coronation are the orb, expression of the monarch’s religious moral authority and the scepter representing the concept of “power.”
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary), is the Head of State of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
She is also head of the Commonwealth and Queen of 12 countries that became independent since her accession: Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Kitts and Nevis.
The so-called Imperial state crown was made for the coronation of her father in 1937 mounting 2,868 diamonds, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds, hundreds of pearls and the large “Black Prince’s” ruby, which the Queen likes the “most” (the other State crown is the St. Andrews crown which she has used only once).
“Fortunately, my father and I have the same shaped head, once on it stays (fixed),” said Queen Elizabeth II, aged 91 who on Feb. 6 will have been the British head of state for 66 years, amply surpassing Queen Victoria’s reign of 63 years and 216 days, between 1837-1901.
The Queen also recalled memories of riding in the State Golden Couch on the day of her 1953 coronation that took her from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey which she described as “horrible” and “not meant for traveling at all,” especially if one is being taken “half-way round London, four or five miles,” she added.
The 4-ton coach is so heavy “the horses can’t go faster,” she said.
When referring to her coronation, “I suppose it marks the beginning of a life as a sovereign,” the Queen told the BBC.
“I have seen one coronation and I have been the recipient in the other, pretty remarkable!” said the longest ruling British monarch.