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Home  >  Features  >  Looking back - the Coronation

Looking Back

Monday June 3 2013


Extracts from the May 1953 edition of Life and Work, which looked forward to the Queen's Coronation on June 2nd.





“I want to ask you all to pray for me on that day, to pray that God may give me wisdom and strength to carry out the solemn promises I shall be making.”

IS it absurd to expect that numbers of people who are not ordinarily  in the way of praying should in response to these words, say some sort of prayer in their hearts on Coronation Day? It might seem so but for the fact that prayer does begin for many people in some such sudden impulse, in an unanticipated, unrehearsed exclamation which is scarcely recognised as prayer till after it has been uttered.

We have much farther to go than that, of course, if we are to enter the deeper reaches and be sharers in the continuing prayer of Christ “for this whole world lying in need.” But it is because we misjudge the beginnings that most of us who are not in the way of praying have failed to find entry into this secret of life’s inner power. So it is not absurd to let the Queen’s request for their prayers come home even to those who are not in the way of praying. Coronation Day may not seem to engage their emotions so deeply that a cry is likely to be called from their hearts for our young Queen and for our country, as it might be by some close and pressing circumstance of their own life. And yet the recollection of a young girl, in the loneliness which her father knew to be inevitable for her, kneeling in her dedication and asking God’s help to be faithful in the place in which she has been set, might well touch and move many to some simple word of blessing which would be blessing to themselves also.



The DOMESTIC CHAPLAIN TO HER MAJESTY IN SCOTLAND (The Reverend John Lamb) writes about the Queen as one who “has the privilege of knowing something of her private life.”

IT may be true to say that the Throne and the Crown have a deep and independent significance apart from the one who sits on the Throne or wears the Crown; but the nation-wide, the world-wide, interest in the coming Coronation might almost seem to contradict that statement.

Through the long story of the years Coronations have been staged in all their solemnity and splendour, and little change will occur in the scene in Westminster Abbey on the 2nd of June. Yet on every hand it is said there never has been a Coronation which has awakened so real an interest nor made such a deep appeal to the people’s heart. Is this not a case of the difference lying in the player and not in the part played?

Young, gracious and lovely, Princess Elizabeth had long won our hearts. Trained for her high office by our late beloved King and by the Queen Mother with their selfless devotion and genius for fine living; dedicated by her own vow “My whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service,” she takes up the heaviest burden anyone can be called to bear with wisdom beyond her years, with sympathy and understanding, with courage and strong faith. We have no doubts lest she be not every inch a Queen. And should any think that might only be a cloak of state concealing a less lovely robe, we, who have had the honour and rare privilege of being allowed to know something of her private life, know this - that, what she is, she is as Queen.

Happy-hearted yet serious, thirled to beauty and goodness, loving freedom as she loves the wide moors, prizing our traditions yet ready to adventure out to the new with a charm which conquers and a devotion which calls out the loyalty that would make anyone respond to her call to “join in with her,” mindful of others and always trusting God, she interprets our ideals and the finest spirit of our age – a leader because she rules our hearts.



The Rev DAVID H. C. READ, the youngest of Her Majesty’s Scottish Chaplains, writes of the Coronation as it should appear to young men and women.

What is the Coronation? That is not a silly or useless question, for it appears that quite a number of people have little idea. Not long ago I heard someone say: “The Coronation is a spectacular affair, a festival – what a pity to spoil it with bits of solemn religion.” A spectacle, yes; and a glad festival by all means. But, first and foremost the Coronation is a Divine Service.

This way of regarding the Coronation is not just a pious tradition nor a private fad of “religious folk.”  We know, for we have been told so very plainly, that this is the way Queen Elizabeth herself looks forward to the great event. For Her Majesty it is a dedication in the full Christian sense of the word. And she has asked us all to pray for her that it may be for us a dedication too.

And so, when we think of the Coronation, a much better parallel to have in our minds than any exciting spectacle is that of those moments in our churches when young men and women stand up before the congregation to profess their belief in Christ, and dedicate themselves to His service.


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