Finest Hour 177, Summer 2017
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TORONTO—While the hugely successful play The Audience and equally successful TV Series The Crown deserve praise, both conclude that Winston Churchill delayed the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II to take pressure from the forces which were endeavouring to force him to resign—on the basis that a change of Prime Minister during the period from accession to coronation would not be acceptable.
In the productions, Queen Elizabeth points out to Churchill that the coronation of her father King George VI took place just six months after he acceded to the throne. What should have been pointed out, however, was that arrangements for the coronation had commenced some nine months before, for the intended crowning of King Edward VIII.
To illustrate that the timing from accession to coronation of Queen Elizabeth was in line with previous monarchs:
Edward VII: accession 22 January 1901 & coronation 9 August 1902—18 months and 18 days;
George V: accession 6 May 1910 & coronation 22 June 1911—13 months and 16 days; Edward VIII/George VI: Accession (Edward) 20 January 1936 & coronation (George) 12 May 1937—15 months and 24 days;
Elizabeth II: accession 6 February 1952 & Coronation 2 June 1953—15 months and 25 days.
Also pertinent is the fact that Churchill still stayed on as Prime Minister until 6 April 1955, a further twenty-two months after the coronation. Churchill did not delay anything; he “went” when he was ready! —Terry Reardon
Coming in Finest Hour 178: Churchill and Chartwell