- Hour-long The Coronation on BBC1 saw Queen reunited with Coronation crown
- The 91-year-old watched as an aide in white gloves brought the headwear to her
- Viewers were delighted that she immediately 'man-handled' the historic item
- Queen smiled as she prodded jewels on it including pearls and a sapphire
- The show marks the 65th anniversary in June of the Queen's Coronation in 1953
Published: 05:58 EST, 15 January 2018 | Updated: 06:17 EST, 15 January 2018
Viewers watching the Queen as she was reunited with her Coronation crown in a special programme for the BBC last night were left aghast after the monarch was seen casually rotating it, grabbing the ermine and even gently prodding a pearl.
After a white-gloved aide put the historic 1661 crown in front of the monarch, the 91-year-old wasted no time in getting to grips, literally, with it – leaving those watching at home shocked at her relaxed approach to one of the country's most important artifacts.
The hour-long show for BBC One, which celebrates 65 years since the Queen came to the throne, left some viewers suggesting that she was 'man-handling' the crown as she discussed wearing it just once, when she came to the throne in 1953.
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Viewers of last night's The Coronation – a BBC programme to mark 65 years since the Queen came to the throne – were shocked to see the monarch's relaxed approach to the crown
After a gloved aide places the 1661 headpiece on a table in front of her, the Queen, who admits the crown can be 'unwieldy' to wear, sets about 'prodding and poking' it
The 91-year-old, who appeared in good spirits during the interview, wastes no time in getting a closer look at the crown. Only three people are currently permitted to touch the crown without gloves on; the Queen, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Crown Jeweller
Her Majesty gently flicks one of the pearls and reveals that a sapphire looks 'pale' but helped her to identify the crown's front from its back
When the 'unwieldy' crown, one of two used in the Coronation – is placed before her, the narrator reminds viewers that only three people in the world – the Queen herself, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Crown Jeweller – can touch it without gloves on.
Judging by the outpouring of surprise on social media, viewers were clearly expecting the Queen to have a more reverent approach to the crown.
On Twitter, Charlie Proctor wrote: 'The nation gasps in horror as The Queen manhandles The Queen jostles with The Crown #TheCoronation'
Another viewer, @MissRachLou, added: 'Watching the Queen man-handle the crown (which is what she does when she wants to wear it) after someone reverently picked it up with gloves for her was hilarious.'
One viewer said they loved the fact the Queen was handling the crown like it was NBD (no big deal)
A white-gloved aide brings the precious piece to the table. When interviewer Alastair Bruce wants the Queen to take a closer look, he has to ask the aide to come back and move it
In the candid chat, Her Majesty is seen admitting that the crown is hard to wear, saying she had to keep speeches at eye-level because looking down could break her neck
The jewels featured in the show were brought from the Tower of London for the special one-off programme
'Once you put it on it stays. I mean it just remains on’ The Queen also revealed what is was like to actually wear the diadem
The Queen speaks candidly and with humour about the experience of her own coronation, and the symbolic importance of artefacts associated with the sovereign
@OldSparky6 added: 'Loving seeing the Queen do away with 'protocol' and poke and prod the crown like it was just another hat.'
@boogieshoe joked: 'Can I ask that the crown is moved closer to the Queen? *Queen grabs it, throws it across the table* my crown, my rules'
In a remarkably warm and chatty interview, the Queen also reveals how, during her Coronation at Westminster Abbey in 1953, her elaborate gown got stuck on the carpet pile and for a moment she wasn’t able to move.
She is at her sparkling best, relaxed and full of gems of information about the treasures that are hers to show off.
Queen Elizabeth II with her Maids of Honour and the Archbishop of Canterbury during the Coronation, which she addresses in the documentary
They may be worth millions, but as she examines the Crown Jewels the Queen could be any woman looking fondly at her jewellery box. Among the precious rubies and emeralds, diamonds and pearls that illuminate the history of our nation, she has her favourites and those… that are, quite frankly, a bit of a pain to wear
One is the ‘unwieldy’ Imperial State Crown, which the Queen confides is so heavy that in order not to ‘break my neck’ she is forced to bring her speeches up to her face to read them
The programme was the fruit of a collaboration between the BBC and The Royal Collection Trust, guardian of more than a million antiques and works of art on behalf of the nation, which tells the stories of some of its greatest treasures in a series of programmes over the next few weeks.
Unusually, to mark the 65th anniversary in June of her Coronation, the Queen agreed to appear on camera at Buckingham Palace with a selection of her Crown Jewels.
The treasures were brought from the Tower of London to be filmed as she reminisced with royal commentator Alastair Bruce.
Faced with her diamond encrusted Imperial State Crown, which she wore at the end of her Coronation and until recently used for most State Openings of Parliament, the Queen has an almost comically hostile expression as she unexpectedly pulls it towards her.
The documentary also features the St Edward’s Crown, which the Archbishop of Canterbury placed on her head at the moment of coronation. The Queen sees footage of the Coronation featuring her golden state coach, which weighs nearly four tons
Explaining how the crown was remodelled after George VI’s Coronation, she says: ‘You see, it’s much smaller isn’t it?’
Mr Bruce notes that it was ‘huge’ when her father was crowned.
The Queen replies: ‘Yes. Very unwieldy.’ She adds: ‘Fortunately my father and I have about the same sort of shaped head. But once you put it on it stays. I mean it just remains on.’
Crown Jewels hidden from the Nazis…in a biscuit tin
Many of the Crown Jewels were buried in a biscuit tin under Windsor Castle during the Second World War to stop them being seized by the Nazis, it has emerged.
They were placed inside a Bath Oliver tin like the one on the right and lowered into a hole dug beneath a castle entrance.
Grass was then left to grow over the hiding place to conceal it, according to recently discovered letters.
It was such a closely-guarded secret that the Queen herself only found out where the jewels had been hidden during the filming of the documentary.
Royal commentator Alastair Bruce discovered the former hiding place when he found confidential correspondence detailing the plan from royal librarian Owen Morshead to Queen Mary, George VI’s mother.
Asked if she has to keep her head very still while wearing the 2lb 5oz crown, the Queen replies: ‘Yes. And you can’t look down to read the speech you have to take the speech up.
'Because if you did your neck would break, it [the crown] would fall off.’
Laughing, she adds: ‘So there are some disadvantages to crowns, but otherwise they’re quite important things.’
The Queen, who was 27 when she was crowned, is also shown nonchalantly flicking four pearls hanging underneath the arches of the crown.
Two of the pearls are said to have belonged to Mary Queen of Scots and to have been bought by Elizabeth I.
The Queen says with a sad laugh: ‘They were meant to be Queen Elizabeth’s earrings. But they’re not very happy now. They don’t look very happy now.
‘Most pearls like to be sort of living creatures so they’ve just been out, hanging out here for years, it’s rather sad. So they don’t look very happy.’
Mr Bruce responds: ‘Quite dead.’ She replies: ‘Well, I’m afraid so. I mean, the trouble is that pearls are sort of live things [flicks them] and they need… warming.’
The documentary also features the St Edward’s Crown, which the Archbishop of Canterbury placed on her head at the moment of coronation.
The Queen sees footage of the Coronation featuring her golden state coach, which weighs nearly four tons.
She comments: ‘Horrible. It’s not meant for travelling in at all. I mean, it’s only sprung on leather. Not very comfortable.’
When asked if she was in it for a long time, she pauses before smilingly responding: ‘Halfway around London. It can only go at a walking pace. The horses couldn’t possibly go any faster. It’s so heavy.’
Inside the Abbey, with the eyes of the world on her, the Queen is seen in her coronation dress, embroidered in silk with pearls, and gold and silver bullion thread.
The Queen says with a sad laugh: ‘They were meant to be Queen Elizabeth’s earrings. But they’re not very happy now. They don’t look very happy now. ‘Most pearls like to be sort of living creatures so they’ve just been out, hanging out here for years, it’s rather sad. So they don’t look very happy’
Reflecting, she laughs: ‘Well I remember one moment when I was going against the pile of the carpet and I couldn’t move at all. Yes, they hadn’t thought of that.’
The programme also shows home movie footage of the family group at Buckingham Palace. The Queen muses: ‘What did I do with the sceptre then? It’s gone. Somebody picked [it] up and took it out.’
A young Prince Charles and Princess Anne can also be seen playing underneath the train of her purple velvet robe.
‘Such fun for the children,’ the interviewer says. ‘Not what they’re meant to do,’ the Queen says with mock sternness.
The Coronation is on BBC One on Sunday at 8pm.