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The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II

The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II

Watch Thursday, October 31, 2013 at 10pm on WMHT TV

The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II is a documentary about the greatest public ceremony of the twentieth century. As well as recounting the events of Coronation Day, 2nd June 1953, the film focuses on the months of meticulous planning beforehand. What took place behind the scenes is told using diaries, letters, official records and government papers, together with much rare, evocative archive. There are interviews with historians and experts on royal ceremonial as well as participants in the ceremony.

The Coronation was an immense challenge - the views of forceful personalities from die-hard traditionalists to forward-thinking innovators had to be reconciled, the movements of thousands had to be marshaled like clockwork, and the BBC had to mount its most ambitious television outside broadcast to date in the teeth of Prime Minister Winston Churchill's opposition. At the center of it all was the 27-year-old Queen, bearing an immense responsibility while remaining apparently calm and unperturbed throughout.

This is a story of precision planning, last minute nerves and an ancient ceremony which brought together church, state, aristocracy and monarchy in a glorious panoply - the like of which will never be seen again.

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