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Churches prepare to mark 60 years since Coronation

24 May 2013

by a staff reporter


From the big day:one of the two surviving dresses worn by the six Maids of Honour who carried the Queen's train during the Coronation, on display in a royal-themed exhibition of embroidery in Southwell Minster, until 16 June. The dress, like the Queen's bridal gown, was designed by Norman Hartnell, and worn by Lady Jane Heathcote-Drummond-Willoughby (below, fourth from left)

From the big day:one of the two surviving dresses worn by the six Maids of Honour who carried the Queen's train during the Coronation, on display in...

A PRAYER for the 60th anniversary of the Queen's Coronation has been published, as churches and cathedrals around the country prepare celebratory services to mark the event.

The prayer, written by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Revd John Hall - where the Coronation took place on 2 June, 1953 - says that with "united voice" we "give thanks for the long and glorious reign of our Sovereign Lady Queen Elizabeth". The prayer has been written in both a traditional and a modern version.

The Queen will attend an anniversary service at the Abbey on 4 June, which will be televised.

In Truro Cathedral, children will join in a re-enactment of the Coronation, complete with royal carriage, jewels, and miniature replica costumes.

For one member of staff at Exeter Cathedral, Dennis Whitehead, the anniversary brings back special memories. He was one of 20 choristers chosen from parish choirs around the country to sing at the Coronation.

Now aged 73, he remembers his lunch for the day: "Ovaltine tablets, glucose tablets, barley sugar, bread and butter, an apple, ¼lb slab of chocolate, all of which was consumed before the service began."

His diary entry for the day says: "I must confess I could not sing the first few notes because of a lump in my throat. I shall never forget as long as I live the thrill of that moment. . . The picture will remain for ever in my memory."

He plans to attend a special choral evensong at Exeter Cathedral on the anniversary.

Westminster Abbey is also hosting a coronation exhibition, with archive pictures of the day. And in Southwell Minster, a "Labour of Love" exhibition of embroidery and dresses linked to the Coronation will feature a gold- brocade evening dress worn by the Queen on her visit to New Zealand in 1953.

Many churches are also involved in helping with a community lunch to mark the occasion. The ecumenical project the Big Lunch - which ran last year for the Diamond Jubilee - is being organised again on 2 June. Millions of people are expected to take part.

The Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, has commissioned an easy-to-make Coronation- chicken recipe for the day, which includes ingredients that embrace many of the ethnic communities that make up St Albans.

He said: "I hope this dish is a small tribute to the original idea for celebrating the Coronation with foods from many traditions. I am offering this to our communities in the diocese of St Albans as a way for them to feel more included in the celebration of 60 years since Her Majesty's Coronation."

Resources for churches to mark the anniversary have been published on a dedicated website: www.coronation.churchofengland.org.


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