Memories of a Coronation celebration


02 April 2023
Pauline Pedersen shares her memories of being a 'Coronation queen' as the nation marked the coronation of Queen Elizabeth.

In 1952 we were living in Yardley Wood, a suburb of Birmingham. We knew that the Coronation was due to take place in June and a parish celebration was being planned which would include the election of the parish’s own coronation queen; parents were asked to submit the names of daughters who wanted to take part and I was added to the list.

Some time during the spring a parish party was held and during this, the girls taking part in the competition were each given a number to hold in front of them, walk down the hall to a table where the judges were sitting and merely smile. Maybe we were asked a question or two but I was so nervous I don’t remember. I do remember that Mum had taught me to curtesy which I did, though probably not that elegantly! Later, it was announced that the ‘young lady carrying the number nine was the winner’ and would she step forward? That was me! Mum promptly burst into tears; how embarrassing. Dad was grinning ear to ear. Two maids-of-honour were announced too, both of whom lived near to us: Patricia Weston and Jill Hammond.

In the intervening months, Mum must have saved hard to buy me a beautiful red, taffeta dress and someone on the committee made a red crown, adorned with faux replica jewels. All three of us girls were presented with red, white and blue bouquets, after which we were seated on the back of a flat-bed lorry and driven round the parish for all to see.

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Are there any more coronation queens out there?

Originally published May 2022. Reviewed April 2023.