My Memories Of The Coronation 2nd June 1953
A Memory of Aberkenfig.
My memories of the Coronation-2nd June 1953
While I was studying at the Bridgend Preparatory and Commercial School two events happened which changed the course of history for Great Britain. In February 1952 King George 6th died suddenly in his sleep. He had been ill for some time but when the end came it was shock to the nation. Princess Elizabeth (heir to the throne) was on a state visit with her husband Prince Philip (Duke of Edinburgh) to South Africa. She was 26 years old and now she was Queen of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. She returned home immediately. What a responsibility for such a young person. The funeral was a grand affair but as we didn’t have a television at home in 1952 we had to rely on newspapers. The second event was on my 15th birthday on the 2nd June 1953 – the coronation of Queen Elizabeth 2nd. Months of planning went into this grand ceremonial event. When the day arrived all children had a day’s holiday and most children were given mugs to commemorate the event. As I was in a private school my parents bought me a Coronation New Testament which I treasured. People were beginning to have televisions but we still didn’t have one so we went to St John’s Church Hall in Aberkenfig where the Coronation was shown on a big screen provided by Mr Baker of Aberkenfig. We hadn’t seen anything like this before – the dresses were designed and made by Norman Hartnell and the Queen had to wear a very heavy crown. I remember the thousands of people thronging the streets and pavements in London, all waving Union Jack’s. The Queen of Tonga (Queen Salute) was a favourite as she was driven in an open topped carriage and she insisted on not having it closed even though it was raining. She was a very large lady but she had the people’s attention with her simplicity as well as grandeur. The day finished with a party for the children of Aberkenfig at the Welfare Hall. I can’t remember what we had to eat but I know mum had bought some material and I had a new dress. What a birthday I had when I was fifteen. All the streets were decorated with flags and everybody was celebrating the great event. In some places there were street parties – the war had been over for a few years and there were no restriction on food. Kitty Delahay - nee Morgan