King Charles and Princess Anne played a charming game with their grandmother at The Queen’s coronation

·3-min read
king charles queen coronation game
King Charles' fun game at The Queen's coronationMirrorpix - Getty Images

King Charles’ coronation this May will be a historic affair, but it will also be personally poignant to The King. As we approach the big day, many will be reflecting on the last coronation of a British Monarch which was, of course, Queen Elizabeth II, The King's mother.

Ahead of King Charles' coronation, the Good Housekeeping team have been deep in the British Library researching royal history and unearthing some interesting details you won't find anywhere else.

For instance, we uncovered a book called The Queen's Coronation: The Inside Story by James Wilkinson which includes personal memories and behind-the-scenes details of those who were there on the day of The Queen’s coronation. It even features a personal letter from Prince Philip as the foreword.

king charles queen coronation game
The Queen Mother, a young King Charles and Princess Margaret at The QueenTopical Press Agency - Getty Images

One of our favourite anecdotes from the book involved a game played by The King and his sister, Princess Anne, with The Queen Mother after the coronation.

Queen Elizabeth II was coronated on 2 June 1953 and the then four-year-old Prince Charles watched alongside 8,000 other guests, stewards, performers and members of the Royal Family as his mother was crowned at Westminster Abbey.

The King was given a special hand-painted invitation to the coronation and sat between his aunt, Princess Margaret, and his grandmother, The Queen Mother. His sister, Princess Anne, was only two years old at the time and was too young to attend.

Once the ceremony had ended, the newly crowned Queen began the long procession through London in the Gold State Coach, before arriving back at Buckingham Palace.

Photographer Cecil Beaton was ready and waiting for Her Majesty at the Palace to begin the photography session which would produce her famous coronation portrait.

king charles queen coronation game
The Royal Family photographed at Buckingham Palace, including The Queen, Prince Philip, the then Prince Charles, Princess Anne and The Queen Mother.Universal History Archive - Getty Images

According to the book, while the photographs were being taken, the young Prince Charles and Princess Anne were becoming bored and a little restless, so their grandmother, The Queen Mother, provided a game to keep them entertained.

For the coronation ceremony, The Queen Mother was dressed in a decadent gown and robes and, according to a former page of The Queen Mother named Michael Anson, the children, “suggested they would like to ride in her train like a wheelbarrow.”

Apparently, The Queen Mother “thought it was a wonderful joke” and so Michael and the other pages “went galloping up and down the passages…with these two little people jumping on and off the train as we carried it with them sitting in the middle.”

king charles queen coronation game
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip on the balcony at Buckingham Palace.Keystone-France

Reflecting on the coronation of The Queen in his foreword for the book, King Charles’ father, Prince Philip wrote, “I very much doubt whether any two people who attended the Coronation have identical memories of the occasion. Much of that day certainly remains rather a blur in my memory, although I have the most vivid memories of individual incidents.”

He added that reading the book had in fact, “brought back many of the half-forgotten recollections of what must have been on the greatest ceremonies the Abbey has ever witnessed.”

We wonder how The King’s own grandchildren might be kept entertained at the Palace on the day of his own upcoming coronation!

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