The Queen’s Coronation Behind Palace Doors

Tensions and conflict arose between the Queen Mother and Prince Philip behind the scenes leading up to Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953. It was the unholiest of rows. The Queen’s Coronation Behind Palace Doors includes dramatic re-enactments and interviews with leading royal biographers Hugo Vickers, Sarah Bradford, Tim Heald, Piers Brendon and Gyles Brandreth, Maids of Honour Lady Anne Glenconner and and photographers’ assistants Michael Dunne and John Drysdale, and former House of Hartnell employee Michael Talboys. King George VI died prematurely on 6 February 1952, aged 56, thrusting his twenty five year old daughter Elizabeth onto the throne. The Queen Mother was forced to stand aside Elizabeth was caught in the middle. Prince Philip wanted to showcase a thoroughly modern monarchy whilst the traditionalists, including the Queen Mother, saw no reason for change The Queen Mother wanted her daughter to continue what she and her husband had begun, a monarchy of tradition, stability and continuity throughout the 20th Century and beyond. She had rebranded the monarchy, with help from designer Norman Hartnell and photographer Cecil Beaton. She was worried Prince Philip would be a threat to the monarchy like Edward VIII. The Establishment regarded Prince Philip with suspicion and a suspect character coming from nowhere. His sisters married Nazis and he associated with unsuitable people. He was not the Queen Mother’s ideal son-in-law. Prince Philip faced further opposition when he wanted to modernise Buckingham Palace. Sir Alan Lascelles, the personification of old fashioned, looked down at this brash young naval officer wanting to turn the whole system on its head. He wanted to change the family name from Windsor to Mountbatten but both the Queen and Cabinet refused. However, tensions continued after the Coronation.