Coronation Letter 1953

Dear Everyone,

This is written on Coronation Day, Hyde Park corner, near Lancaster Gate. I feel there is no better way of sharing the Coronation with you than by adding wee pieces along the route. But nothing I can write can give you any idea of the thrill we are experiencing. It Just stirs your blood and makes one proud that one is British. I must confess that we were rather bleary-eyed and overcome many a time. Our stand is about quarter-way in Hyde Park, nearer Hyde Park corner than Marble Arch.

Thousands are lining the route, some having been here for two nights. We fortunately hadn’t to be here until this morning. Up at four thirty A.M. off at five, but didn’t get seated until just on six AM. When you consider that New Zealand has a population of two million people and that there are twenty million pople [people] here in London for the Coronation you will have some idea of thecrowd [the crowd]. (A commentator giving detaile [details] along the route) “The Guard of Honour has just lined the east carriage drive” (Which is through Hyde Park). Thousands from every regiment marching and lining the route from Hyde Park to Marble Arch, each bearing their colours and lead by the regimental band. A magnificent sight as all move as one man, just absolute perfection. Four and a half hours of waiting have just gone by and really they have been full of interest. A tremendous thrill which was not overshadowed by the Coronation was the fact that Everest has been conquered and by a Kiwi. A deafening applause went up from our stand as you can imagine. And what a thrill to be accomplished on the eve of the Coronation. The Queen has nowentered [now entered] her gold coach and a hush over all as they wait for her to commence her triumphant ride to the Abbey. Her gown is exquisite embroidered with the emblems of all the Commonwealth. Words are just inadequate. All along from the Palace she is acclaimed with terrific applause. The colour must be wonderful. We don’t see it until three thirty P.M., another five and a half hours, but even if it had been another twenty five and a half hours it would have been worth waiting for. The Royal Coach is now entering the Victoria Embankment where thousands of children are waiting. A wonderful gesture on the Queen’s part to enable the children to see her. No wonder her subjects love her for she is so understanding and human. It’s a real winter‘s day and for several hours was raining but shortly after the royal procession left the palace the sun made a valiant effort to break forth as if to add it’s blessing to such a glorious occasion. Here comes the first division of the Queen’s escort, and now the state coach approaches the annex of the Abbey. And here comes the rain.

This was as far as we could get with our writing for from the time the Queen went into the Abbey for her crowning it rained on and off. And then as the procession started for its final route back to Buckingham Palace it just teemed. Nothing could dampen the spirit of that great day. We followed the service by the loud speakers all over the park and a great reverence was over the whole crowd as the service was taking place and all followed it from the depths of ther [their] hearts. Then came the great procession itself. The thing we had wated [waited] for from six a.m. A two mile long procession of contingents from the whole Commonwealth. The beginning of the procession was right along side our stand and there they waited till the Queen left the Abbey. By this time it was just teeming, but rain, hail, snow or blizzard colud [could] not have dampened our spirits. I was proud I was a Britisher, and as the march past [pass] commenced and contingents one after the other passed from India, Ceylon, Pakistan, South Africa, Australia, Canada and New Zealand a lump welled up in my throat as I thought of the whole British realm out in force to do honour to their Queen. She is a most loved monarch, and I do hope you all have the joy of seeing her when she comes to New Zealand. After the main troops marched past the dignitaries of the various parts of the nation. The greatest applaud [applause] when Queen Salote appeared on the scene. She spotted our N.Z. stand and leant [leaned] over and waved frantically. Following close behind was Mr. Holland. He saw us and nearly dived out of his carriage. He leant [leaned] over and gave Mrs. Holland a nudge and she too waved us a grand welcome. The Canadian mounted police also aroused a good cheer. They certainly looked super in their bright red jackets – a bright splash on such a wretched day. Oh, how much I longed to tranship a little of N.Z’s sunshine over here. Can you believe that we have now had our summer. Two fine days at Whitsun. June is usually a grand month but it is like mid-winter here now. Then came the household cavalry, they hold the place of honour and ride just before the Queen. And then before our eyes came the gold royal coach, just like a fairy tale unfolding. There was a frantic few minutes trying to view as much as you possibly could and no one spoke till the coach was well out of sight, Words just wouldn’t come. And then — it was all over. But a life long memory remained.

After that came the fight to get home. The whole streets were just

crowded like sardines from one side to the other. However, got back to Wimbledon seven thrity [thirty] p.m. and then decided to finish out the day by going back to see the fire works display at the Victoria Embankment. Another two and a half hours of waiting but then another worthwhile reward. Ten thousand pounds of fireworks which lit up the sky with myriads of golden rain and stars etc. A beautiful set piece depicting the Queen, the Duke and the family was lit and glittered and sparkled for a long time before finally extinguishing itself. Mid-night [Midnight] found us wandering around Whitehall and the Abbey, around the Houses of Parliament, over Westminister [Westminster] Bridge and to Waterloo and finally got home at some early hour of the morning. It was indeed a wonderful, wonderful day. My only sorrow was that you folks weren’t able to share it too. Shall think of you all asyou [as you] see the films of the Coronation. You say it is coming to Hastings on the twenty sixth. If you have the chance see both Elizabeth is Queen and A Queen is crowned. The former shows you many little pictures that go before the actual Coronation such as the Household Cavalry getting the horses ready. But the latter shows many more beautiful shots of the service in the Abbey.

Now I think that is enough of my own reflections on the Coronation. See the film and see the colour and the glory of the pageantry. Even the teeming rain didn&t [didn’t] dim that at all. It is now well long time since my light should have been out so it is good night for now.

Much love to all,


E Johnstone
J Goodall
I Bewley
J Shuker
E Sims
Miss M Lacey  35 McLean St Woodville
(Mrs) N Clemo [?]  Kiripaki R D Whangarei

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June 1953

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