The Coronation, a documentary about Queen Elizabeth‘s 1953 induction ceremony to aired last night on the Smithsonian Channel. It’s remarkable for many reasons, primarily because the Queen has never given an interview on camera. (And, in deference to palace sensitivities, it is being described as a “conversation.”)
Anthony Geffen, the film’s producer, said in an interview that Netflix‘s award winning series, The Crown was part of the case he brought to Buckingham Palace to get them to yield to this hard and fast rule of no interviews.
“I watched the episode of ‘The Crown’ about the coronation and it struck me that this was bizarre: We have Peter Morgan, who is a wonderful writer, but had no access to the queen, writing his version, which people loved. Then there is a version from 1953, and the only person who could tell us the truth about this is the queen herself.”
Ancient rules surround every aspect of the ceremony. Geffen was surprised to discover that he was prohibited from filming the two crowns used in the ceremony from above, because that is the vantage point reserved for God.
“They didn’t want you to really stand above them at all. You’ve got to realize, the crowns are considered quite sacred, and even filming them is seen as if it could devalue them in some way.”
The Coronation marks the first time the crown jewels, a collection of regalia used in British coronations, have been filmed. The resolution is so high that you can see dust circulating in the light.
When they bring the crown out, the Queen inspects it and calls it “unwieldy”. Gotta love her.
(Photos, Wikimedia Commons, screen grab; via NY Times)