I was nine years old in 1952 when King George VI died. I hadn’t realised that he’d been ill, I simply remember one of our teachers coming into the classroom, whispering something to our Form Master and then he announced that the King had died. We said the Lord’s Prayer and Mr Keytes, our teacher, prayed for the new Queen.
It was all a bit sad, but I couldn’t really take it in. For a start, I didn’t actually know him; but at least we had a day off for the funeral! There were very few televisions in our street – in fact, only one – and I was privileged to watch the interment as it happened.
Then we had the excitement of a coronation the following year, and this is yet another example of how little I appreciated what my parents did for me.
The Head Teacher announced one morning in Assembly that the school would be performing a pageant of singers, dancers and actors, entitled “Great Britain” and we had just three months to get it all sorted. Some pupils joined the dancing classes, others were selected for the choir and anyone who wanted a speaking part was to tell the Form Teacher.
This appealed to me – “Little Miss Show Off” – so I registered and, lo and behold, I was given the part of Wales!!!
I can still remember my lines: “Though Wales be small, her heart is sound, where’re her soldiers may be found.” (As I typed “small” I realised after all these years that my selection was probably due more to my size than my abilities. Ah, well!!)
So, the next thing was to get a costume, but, of course, these had to be made at home. I was given a picture of a traditional Welsh costume and Mum and Dad had to do the rest. I can still see us all around the table pasting and sticking black squares to the hat Dad had made.
Some of the other children had really fantastic costumes specially made but mine was very special because I knew that Mum and Dad had done this for me and no-one else.
The concert went well and I remembered my lines and I could see Mum and Dad sitting in the audience with big grins on their faces.
So, the day of the Coronation arrived and, typically English, the weather was not good. It was drizzling most of the day but we still enjoyed ourselves. We couldn’t watch the Coronation live as one can today on T.V or iPhone; instead we had to go to the cinema to see the newsreel. One of the most poignant moments in the whole ceremony for me is the actual crowning. After being handed the four symbols of authority – the orb, the sceptre, the rod of mercy and the royal ring of sapphire and rubies – the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Geoffrey Fisher, placed St Edward’s Crown on Elizabeth’s head to complete the ceremony. A shout of “God Save the Queen” was heard and gun salutes were fired as crowds cheered. I believe we even applauded in the cinema!
The parents in our road set up a street party. There was one long table with lots to eat and drink and afterwards there was a fancy dress competition. I was dressed as a Drum Majorette, and I have no idea where the costume came from! Unfortunately, I didn’t win a prize but again Mum and Dad must have worked really hard for that one day to be a success.
I can’t thank them in person as my father died in 1972 and Mum died last year, but I can use this Blog as a way to say: “Thanks Mum and Dad for everything you did for us three kids.”
This piece of writing was actually inspired by the Crown of Thorns given to Jesus as He went to his Crucifixion.
“Then Pilate took Jesus and had Him flogged. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head. They clothed Him in a purple robe and went up to Him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they struck Him in the face.”
(John 19 verses 1-3)
But even in His darkest hour, Jesus’ love still shone through, as shown in the account of one of the two thieves on either side of Him:
“Then he said, Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
(Luke 23 verses 42 and 43
So you see, it’s never too late to accept Jesus as your Saviour. The alternative is just too horrible to think about – eternity without anyone, anything – just black, black, black solitude.
Thousands of years ago, the Bible described a place called hell in the heart of the earth that matches exactly what science is discovering. In Numbers 16, the Bible gives the account of people falling into hell alive!
“And the earth opened its mouth, and swallowed them, with their households, and all Korah’s men and all their possessions. They went down alive into the grave, with everything they owned; the earth closed over them, and they perished and were gone from the community” (Numbers 16:32-33)
If you’ve got eleven minutes to spare I urge you to watch the video below. It’s shown from the perspective of the thief on the cross beside Jesus.
There is some graphic detail of Jesus’ suffering so be warned.
Just remember, He did it for you.