How UK royals hid crown jewels from Nazis


After 14 months of preparation, which included the soon-to-be Queen disagreeing with Prime Minister Winston Churchill and deciding to make hers the first coronation ever televised-as well as the first major event televised around the world-the big day rolled around, beginning with the Queen parading around London, making what was at least a five-mile trek from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey with an out-of-the-way stop at Trafalgar Square.

The crown, made for her father's coronation, is set with 2,868 diamonds, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds and hundreds of pearls, including four originally worn as earrings by Elizabeth I. It also features a gemstone known as the Black Prince's Ruby.

The 1953 coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

The mysterious notes are addressed to Queen Mary from George VI and detail a cunning plan to bury the crown jewels under a sally port (a secret entrance to the castle) in separate chambers. Instead, the queen herself pulls the table towards her. Bruce said: "If you look very closely, the table suddenly just goes "woomf" and the crown "woomf" and the crown jeweller is left there with nothing and she says 'well you know, it's my crown'". I mean it's only sprung on leather.

Queen Elizabeth on the day of her coronation (gracefully avoiding any appearance of neck strain).

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She also said the golden ceremonial carriage used for her coronation was "horrible".

The documentary also revealed that numerous Crown Jewels were buried in a biscuit tin on the grounds of Windsor Castle during World War Two, to protect them from the Nazis - information that was so top-secret, the Queen herself only just found out about it. "Because if you did, your neck would break and it (the crown) would fall off", she said smiling.

"It's not meant for traveling in at all. So there are some disadvantages to crowns, but otherwise they're quite important things".

A newly-surfaced photo shows the now 36-year-old donning a dazzling crown way back in her teenage years, along with a flowy periwinkle gown and a thick french manicure (they were all the rage then).