A 95-year-old soldier who worked for the respected Grenadier Guards recalled the time he played a role in the Queen’s coronation as he returns tomorrow for the Jubilee
One of the four Grenadier Guards attending the Queen’s coronation ceremony has spoken about his memories of the day ahead of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, which begin tomorrow.
Soldier John Walmsley, now 95, had the pleasure of working for the longest-serving infantry regiments in the British Army at Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953 – the day the monarch was crowned following her accession to the throne the previous year.
Recalling his role on that momentous day, John said the Queen would later refer to them as “my four grenadiers” and was one of the last people she passed by as a princess and the first to be passed by as queen.
John, who now lives at the High Wycombe Home of Royal Star & Garter, a charity that cares for veterans and their partners with disabilities or dementia, said: “The spectacle of that day and time was incredible.
“The glitter, the glitz, the music, it was creepy.”
He recalled how the historic day began by marching his battalion the short distance from Wellington Barracks to nearby Westminster Abbey.
It was raining on the day of the coronation, so the battalion formed a guard of honor at the abbey under a canopy erected to protect the queen from the elements.
The Royal Star and the Garter)
From there, John and three others broke away from the honor guard and slowly marched down the aisle to the music playing inside.
John continued: “We all moved on hiatus and stayed there until Princess Elizabeth arrived.
“When the procession arrived, the courtiers had to approach as the aisle was quite narrow. As she passed, she was so close to us that we could have touched her.
“We couldn’t see the ceremony because we were in this alcove, but we could hear everything and at least feel what was going on.
And the music, my god, I can’t explain it. It was spectacular, I will never forget that.”
As she left the abbey, John’s regiment presented arms to Her Majesty. An honor guard was formed after leaving in the royal carriage.
“I’m proud to have been a part of this historic day,” added John. “I will never forget that.”
John, who joined the Grenadier Guards in 1944, also played a key role at the funeral of King George VI, the Queen’s father, in 1952.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/brit-returns-london-jubilee-70-27122545 Brit returns to London 70 years after attending the coronation ceremony for the anniversary