Monday, May 20, 2013

Coronation Day 1911

by Anita Mae Draper

Today it's Victoria Day in Canada and since we're celebrating royalty, I thought I'd talk about the 1911 Coronation of King George V and Queen Mary. I covered the Coronation itself on my Author Memories blogpost 1911 Courtship: June 21 Dear Ethel, but I thought I'd show you some extra coverage of the big event.

His Majesty King George V, Real Photograph on a Tuck Postcard #1459, first used 1906, sold in Great Britain and Canada.

Her Majesty Queen Mary,
 Real Photograph on a Tuck Postcard #1460, first used 1906, sold in Great Britain and Canada.

The above images are the same ones published on the first page of the June 23, 1911 edition of The Newmarket Era except those images are so dark, you can barely make anything out. From what I did see however, I was able to find the matching images on a huge database website called TuckDB Postcards which states: TuckDB is a free on-line database listing antique postcards published by Raphael Tuck & Sons. Thank you to creators and maintainers of this wonderful look at history portrayed in postcards.

Royalty and important politicians from around the globe made their way to London for the spectacular event, but the one that caught my eye was Her Highness the Nawale Begum of Bhopal who traveled with 9 tons of baggage. The snippet is taken from the Community Newspapers Collection which is an excellent resource for those researching Ontario from it's earliest days to the present. The website can only digitize the newspaper itself so if the original is illegible, that's the way you see it. However, I've transcribed the original for ease of reading.

The Newmarket Era. May 19, 1911 - Page: 2
Lady Had 9 Tons of Baggage.
   Great interest is being shown in Paris, in the visit of the Begum Bhopal, who is staying there for three weeks on her way to the coronation.
   The Bergum, who is believed to be about sixty years of age, is visiting Europe for the second time. When she arrived in Marseilles on Saturday with her suite of twenty-four people and nine tons of luggage, the Hindus of Marseilles , who are numerous, gathered in force to welcome her. 
   The Begum and the ladies of her suite are not allowed to show their faces, and they disembarked covered in heavy veils which extended from their heads to well below their waists. The Hindus of Marseilles had covered the road from the boat to the Begum's carriage with rich carpets, and when she appeared they prostrated themselves on the quay, remaining in this position until she had passed.

One of the things I enjoy about The Newmarket Era is the little bits of personality inputted by the editor where space allows. During the weeks leading up to the coronation though, the editor seemed to be fixed on the idea of too many holidays.

The Newmarket Era. June 9, 1911 - Page: 5

 The Newmarket Era. June 16, 1911 - Page: 8

The Newmarket Era. June 16, 1911 - Page: 3 

 The Coronation Ceremony of His Most Gracious Majesty King George V
 in Westminster Abbey, 22nd June 1911,
 by John Henry Frederick Bacon, Courtesy of Wikipedia

Gorgeous Scene
   London, June 20 - The most regal banquet palace of king or emporer ever witnessed and a gorgeous Shakespeare ball under the auspices of noted sociey leaders stand forth as shining features of the second day of coronation week. The banquet in Buckingham Palace tonight was a scene of imperial grandeur, so far as the assembly of royal and eminent personages, the setting of costly magnificence and beautiful decorations would combine to make it. 
   The King and Queen entertained the visiting and English royalties, all the special foreign delegations, the foreign ambassadors and ministers, the officers of state and the household, the members of the cabinet and former cabinet ministers, the heads of the church and judiciary and of the army and navy.
   The two largest apartments in the palace, the ball room and the picture gallery which adjoin, were utilized as a banquet ball. On the tables was displayed the royal gold plate, used only on historic occasions, the cost of which is estimated at $15,000,000 and its weight eight tons. This plate for the most part was collected in the reigns of the four Georges, and the principal place is a massive peacock captured in one of the Indian wars, whose tail is studded with diamonds. Cut glass worth a fortune, Ivory decanters, hundreds of years old, and old wines dating back more than a century were on the board. 
   The gallery holds more than 500 pictures.The decorations of both rooms are largely gilt, and this background was embellished with banks of palms and giant lilies, white orchids, roses and ferns were stacked on the tables. Yeomen of the guard ranged about the walls, and all diners wore their richest uniforms, decorations, gowns and jewels.

If found this YouTube video entitled Street Parade for coronation of King George V and Queen Mary in 1911 however, I believe the footage is actually the coronation of King George VI and Elizabeth (the current queen's parents). Why? If you listen to the start, the narrator talks about remembering back to 1911 when a glittering escort came along the same street in the same royal coach bearing the newly crowned King George and Queen Mary.

However, The Era gave a detailed post-coronation report called THE CROWING OF OUR KING, Most Gorgeous Spectacle of Modern Times where he mentions the open carriages and ends with this as the final paragraph:

A landau is an open vehicle. Now look at this video and listen to the words carefully:

The video looks old enough to be 1911, but I surmise that it's 1936, especially when the narrator ends by talking about King George VI and Queen Elizabeth and says, "Long may they reign."

What do you think?


Anita Mae Draper is retired from the Canadian Armed Forces and lives on the prairie of southeast Saskatchewan, Canada with her hubby of 30 plus years and 2 of their 4 kids. She writes stories set on the prairies of Saskatchewan, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming. Anita Mae has semi-finaled in the Historical Romance category of the ACFW's 2011 Genesis contest and finaled in the Inspirational category of the 2011 Daphne du Maurier, the 2011 Fool for Love, the 2011 Duel on the Delta and 2009 Linda Howard Award of Excellence contests. Anita Mae is represented by Mary Keeley of Books and Such Literary Agency. You can find Anita at


  1. I love this stuff, Anita! And I'm also not sure of the date of the video. I have tried in vain to see any woman's dress as a hint to decade!

    Queen Mary was quite pretty. (I just saw them last night on Masterpiece Theater -Mr. Selfridge)

    THanks for sharing. "your" newspaper (your great discovery) is a lovely resource!

  2. You're welcome. The Era and all the other newspapers on the Our Ontario site have really brought that period to life.

    I couldn't see the dresses, either, but I did see a face with dark hair appear in the window of the coach and it reminded me of the current Queen Elizabeth. That's what made me think it must've been her mother, Elizabeth, because Queen Mary had fair hair.

  3. Fascinating stuff as always, Anita!

    Hmmmm . . . very hard to tell about that video.

  4. Thanks, DeAnna.

    I'm beginning to wonder if I'm hearing the words right. It's possible...

  5. Very cool, Anita! I love it. Queen Mary was very beautiful. I love the photo of her that you posted.

  6. Thanks, Suzie.

    I know, eh. That waist of hers should be a poster example of how a proper fitting corset should look. Yet, my chest constricts and I have trouble breathing just thinking of how her insides are all packed in there.


Share This Post

How Our Giveaways Work: The Official Rules

We, the ladies of Inkwell Inspirations, would love to give free stuff to everybody. Since we can't, we will often have a giveaway in conjunction with a specific post. Unless otherwise stated, one winner will be drawn from comments left on that post between the date it was published and the end of the giveaway as determined in the post. Entries must be accompanied by a valid email address. This address is used only to contact the commenter in the event that he/she is the winner, and will not be sold, distributed, or used in any other fashion. The odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. NO PURCHASE, PLEDGE, OR DONATION NECESSARY TO ENTER OR TO WIN. ALL FEDERAL, STATE, LOCAL AND MUNICIPAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS APPLY. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.