Friday, April 29, 2011


Unexpectedly, as I watched the spectacle of the Wedding of Prince William to Catherine Middleton, I found myself thinking back to the first major state occasion I ever saw. It was courtesy of a friend that we saw the 1953 coronation of The Queen, relayed through a small TV screen, in black and white. Then I was a young child. As an adult, I remembered my curiosity felt much the same as I peered then and now into a surreal world.

In these theatricals there must be uncountable project managers with departmental stage managing-directors to report to. Can there be an executive CEO to pull things together? These things are so big and diverse, I think that the State occasions in the UK, would be more than Cameron Mackintosh, (Phantom Of The Opera) could handle.

As I watched today's events, I was fascinated by the structuring of them, the type of policing control I saw, limited by what the BBC media cameras focussed upon. 

The 'Wing's' company buses used for the extended Royal Family were a curiosity. Anyone from the grandparent generation and their offspring, populated those, (except that is, The Queen, Prince Philip, and their family line). One commentator said that the mini-buses would give a connection to the people. London Taxi drivers will probably have some thoughts about the chosen mode of transport. One or two red London Buses,(low level entry platforms) would have been perfectly acceptable and easier for the less agile guests. I think seeing London Buses in use, would have been a delight.


Anonymous said...

i'm always amazed by how huge events like this often go without a hitch...hundreds must be working tirelessly and with great cohesion behind the scenes for months beforehand.

i think your idea about the old red London buses is an excellent one and something that would've raised a cheer from the gathered crowds.

ZACL said...

The planning of a major State event must be a real headache, but, what a result!

The more I think about those mini-bus oddities, the more convinced I am product placement has played a part.

It would have been wonderful to have seen some red London buses rolling along in the cavalcade. As you say, they are bound to have raised a great cheer.

Anyway, all the best to the newly weds and any other couples who shared the day for their nuptials.

keiko amano said...


That's the difference between British and American, and the similarity between British and Japanese.

Once, for some reason, Queen Elizabeth was coming to a town close to my place in Southern California. I told this news to a young American man. He said, "So?" I don't know exactly what I expected from his reply, but more than 'So?". So, I thought that was the difference. Even if we are not very interested in the royal families, we still talk about them.

Anonymous said...

I had little interest in this event but it was good to see that it all went smoothly and was enjoyed by all!
I like your suggestion that some old RT double decker buses should have been used.
One of my earliest memories is watching the 1953 coronation on TV at my aunt and uncles! Flighty xx

ZACL said...

Hi Keiko,

There seem to be problems posting replies, this is my second one to you.

We have been told that the Americans were more excited and interested in the British Royal Wedding that the British were. I have a friend who has been asking me questions, though I guess they are more about my perceptions and the friend's interest in history and lineage.

Depending on the nuance, "So" could many very little or a lot.

ZACL said...

Hi Mr F,

An old London Bus for the young and agile, a somewhat newer one with lowering entry platforms would have been best for the 'more mature' actors, in particular, those in The Queen's peer group, of whom, there were a number.

There must be some interesting memories around of the viewing of the 1953 Coronation.

It was good that the wedding event went off without any major hitches.


Harry said...

I also just remember the 1953 event. My father was with the BBC in Northern Ireland and they were striving to bring television to NI in time....which they did.

I was in a procession of various organisations through the town of Lisburn, (there is an official photo of the march with me in it!)and we received a metal pencil case as a momento.

The even was live on black and white TV...happy times!

ZACL said...

Hi Harry,

What an interesting memory of the 1953 Coronation. Those were the days in black and white and in some places it lasted a long time, well into the mid/late 1970's.

I was vaguely aware of a rush to get TV up and running in time for the crowning. Many Londoners were ordering the new fangled picture device for the event. We did not have a TV and anyone who did receive an order in time, or who had a TV, invited friends to watch the historic occasion, historic in very many ways, and especially in monochrome.

Your memory of a tin pencil case is jogging my grey cells. Hmm.