Lady Anne Glenconner, one of the Queen’s attendants on the historical day in 1953, recalled the dramatic moment in the new podcast My Life in Seven Charms

By Monique Jessen
October 22, 2020 02:06 PM
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Queen Elizabeth wearing the Imperial State Crown on her coronation day in 1953
| Credit: Bettmann/Getty

At the coronation of Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles almost caused havoc when he reached for the most priceless (and heaviest!) thing in the room: the Imperial State Crown.

Lady Anne Glenconner, one of the Queen’s attendants on the historical day in 1953, recalled the dramatic moment in the new podcast My Life in Seven Charms with British jeweler Annoushka Ducas.

When asked if she, as one of the Queen’s coronation maids, had ever tried on the magnificent bejeweled crown, she said, "I wouldn’t dare touch it. No, no — completely sacred."

However, she did reveal that the Queen's 4-year-old son "got his paws on it."

"She took it off, put it on a table and Prince Charles made a beeline for it," Lady Anne Glenconner recalled. "And we thought he was going to drop it. We thought, 'Oh my goodness, that would be a bad omen.' But luckily, I think my mother, as a lady-in-waiting, seized it from him and took it away."

Queen Elizabeth with her family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace after the coronation on June 2, 1953
| Credit: Fox Photos/Getty

The crown, worn by the Queen during her return to Buckingham Palace, is made from 2,868 diamonds, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds, 269 pearls and four rubies. Made in 1937, it contains some of the most historic and precious jewels in the world.

The Imperial State Crown
| Credit: TOBY MELVILLE/AFP via Getty

An estimated three million people lined the streets of London on June 2, 1953, to cheer their newly-crowned Queen. The historic event was also the first to be televised, watched by more than 27 million people in the U.K. and millions more around the world.

Lady Anne Glenconner also revealed in the jewelry-themed podcast that the Queen used to practice wearing the heavy crown before the big day.

"Well, she used to wear it when she was writing letters," she said. "I think Prince Charles says he remembers going in and seeing her wearing it. And asked her why she’s wearing it. And she said she was practicing."

The Queen herself opened up about balancing the weighty 3-lb. crown (which until recently, she still wore at the State Opening of Parliament) in a BBC documentary which aired in 2018.

"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 would fall off,” she said candidly. "So there are some disadvantages to crowns, but otherwise they’re quite important things."

Queen Elizabeth at the State Opening of Parliament with Prince Philip
| Credit: Yui Mok/Getty

The new podcast, launched with Lady Anne Glenconner's interview, aims to tease out key moments from a celebrity’s life, reimagining memories into treasured charms (such as a miniature crown, in this instance). During their chat at her Norfolk home, Glenconner recalled fun moments from her time as lady-in-waiting to Princess Margaret (or "Margo," as she revealed Charles used to call his aunt).

Lady Anne Glenconner recording the podcast at her home in Norfolk with Annoushka Ducas
| Credit: Annoushka Ducas

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It's not the first time Glenconner has opened up about her close relationship with the royals. Earlier this year, she released her memoir, Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown, and she has since written her first fictional novel, Murder on Mustique.

Ducas, whose pearl earrings are a favorite of Kate Middleton, has run her luxury eponymous jewelry line since 2009. Not only a favorite amongst royalty (Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice are also fans) but also with celebrities such as Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez and Gigi Hadid.