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Coronation of their Most Gracious Majesties, The (1911)


Main image of Coronation of their Most Gracious Majesties, The (1911)
35mm, 320 ft, black & white, silent
Production CompanyM.F. Company

The lavish Coronation procession for King George V, to jubilant crowds.

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Although Edward VII died in May 1910, it wasn't until June of 1911 that his eldest surviving son, George V, was finally crowned in the traditional coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey. With the equipment available at the time it would have been technically difficult to film inside the Abbey itself because of the lack of light - and possibly undesirable given the perceived solemnity of the occasion. It wasn't until 1953 that the ceremony inside the Abbey was first filmed. The cameramen did, however, film the procession to and from the Abbey from fixed positions along the route.

One position covers the southern side of Trafalgar Square, capturing various mounted troops parading past. A brief hiatus in the procession shows a motorcar driving in the opposite direction towards Trafalgar Square, followed by a horse-drawn fire engine. The police and soldiers lining the route are visibly surprised by this but no explanation for this is given.

Another camera position, by Charing Cross, reveals the crowd-lined streets, the decorations on the shop fronts and the enthusiastic spectators, leaning out of windows to get a view of the state coach passing. A spontaneous cheer goes up as the coach appears - signified by much waving of hats. The emblematic ending - with close-up portraits of the new King and Queen, his grandmother and parents and the new heir Edward (the future Edward VIII) - was a very typical device of films made in this era.

Bryony Dixon

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Video Clips
Complete film (16:12)
Our King Emperor (1911)
A Year in Film: 1911