BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

18 September 2014
Accessibility help
Church and State

BBC Homepage

Contact Us

Royalty under the spotlight

Listen to broadcast clips of some of the great royal ceremonial events of the past sixty years - and hear the views of ordinary people on the changing face of the monarchy.

Abdication - news report: Alvar Liddell breaking the news of King Edward VIII's decision to abdicate the throne in 1936. The tone was respectful and the news was delivered without comment, despite its momentous nature.
The King abdicates: Edward VIII announced his decision to abdicate in a personal broadcast on radio. The public's shock at the announcement must have been heightened by hearing the monarch addressing them directly. Many felt that his love for a divorced American woman was wrong, but to others, his choice was overwhelmingly romantic.
Abdication and accession: The proclamation of King George VI's accession to the throne was announced to the sound of trumpets by the King's Herald, Sir Gerald Wollaston. The occasion was broadcast to the nation on radio.
Wedding mania: The 1947 royal wedding between Princess Elizabeth and Philip was extravagant and beautiful, particularly as food and clothes were still rationed at the time. In 1981 there was a similar fascination with the wedding of Charles and Diana which seemed, at the time, like fairytale.
Coronation day 1953: In June 1953, the Archbishop of Canterbury crowned Elizabeth as queen. She rode to Westminster Abbey in a golden carriage, wearing an ermine cloak; on her head a jewel-encrusted crown was placed. Memories and contemporary commentary.
Royalty - a weary public loses interest: Earlier in the 20th century it was common to stand during the national anthem, even in private homes. But after the world wars, fervent loyalty to the Royals began to wane.

If the audio/video doesn't play, you may need to download the free RealPlayer plug-in. RealOne (for Windows 98/2000/XP and Mac OS X users) or RealPlayer 8 Basic (for Windows 95 and Mac OS 9 users). BBC WebWise has a step-by-step guide to help you.

Church and State trail
Church Architecture
Before the Reformation
Early Palace of Westminster
Shaping the Modern Church
Later Palace of Westminster

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy