King Charles’ coronation is just hours away with furious rehearsals and practice taking place in Westminster.
That’s just as well though, because in the past many a coronation has suffered from poor planning and the downright bizarre.
Charles and Camilla will be hoping everything runs smoothly on their big day, but with thousands due to be present and so many moving parts, there’s always scope for a surprise.
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Over the years wild events have befallen the lauded day, with everything from stinky queens and naked kings to earthquakes and a bloke beating the living daylights out of a BBC camera.
Best of all, this drama has been happening for centuries, with hundreds of years worth of gaffes, faffs and laughs spilling out of the – supposedly – serious day.
One such early disaster came in 1308 – except unlike today with TV, radio and a legion of streaming services, the only way to see the coronation of Edward II was to actually be there.
This led to a huge crush outside that claimed the life of a knight who was stomped to death in a stampede of people trying to hear the music.
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When panic set in the king had to leg it out the back door.
Some 300 years later in 1603, a woman fainted at the coronation of James I after there was a small earthquake.
Not only did the peeress pass out but the choirboys were said to have been terrified.
July 1821 was boiling hot – so hot in fact that during his coronation George IV had to get all his kit off in a bid to cool down.
Desperately wiping his brow he soaked through tissues which he is understood to have passed off to the Archbishop of Canterbury.
He didn’t put his clothes back on until he had cooled off.
This wasn’t the only disaster of that particular coronation, though, with the king refusing to let his wife enter the ceremony.
She refused to wash as the couple’s relations had become strained and, despite being asked not to come, still turned up.
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Westminster Abbey’s doors were slammed in her face causing quite the scene.
Proper planning is vital for a good coronation with Queen Victoria’s in 1838 testament to this.
Multiple things went wrong with the Queen at one point being told that the event was over and to sit down – it wasn’t and the end of the ceremony ended up never happening.
Earlier on the ring of the Queen had been shoved onto the wrong finger and a member of the House of Lords – who was no spring chicken – fell down the stairs.
On to the 20th century and the coronation of King George VI which saw a bizarre moment occur when a member of the crowd was busted with a strange food stashed in his hat.
The Duke of Marlborough was left rightly embarrassed when he was spotted with chocolates falling out in one of the more bizarre food-related coronation oddities.
Finally, in more recent times and the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, a cameraman got in a fight with his camera – and won.
The BBC had just recently been established at the time of the 1953 coronation and seemingly some teething problems were still knocking about.
The cameraman’s equipment died on him on the spot – but he acted fast, opting for violence to solve the problem and giving the camera a “terrific biff”.
Unsurprisingly the problem was solved and TV returned for millions of people.
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