Queen Elizabeth II Reveals "Disadvantages" of Wearing Crowns in Rare Interview

Her Majesty talked about the difficulties of wearing the Imperial State Crown during an interview for the documentary The Coronation on the Smithsonian Channel

By Elyse Dupre Jan 12, 2018 2:05 PMTags

Wearing a crown isn't as easy as it looks—just ask Queen Elizabeth.

In a rare interview for the documentary The Coronation on the Smithsonian Channel, Her Majesty discussed the "disadvantages" of wearing it.

One of the most important items during a coronation is the diamond-encrusted Imperial State Crown. The 91-year-old monarch wore it at the end of her coronation on June 2, 1953 , and her father King George VI wore it during his coronation on May 12, 1937. The Queen also wears it to most State Openings of Parliament. However, she admitted it looks a bit different today compared to when it was first placed on her father's head.

"You see? It's much smaller, isn't it? It was the same height. You know, it would have been up to about there when my father wore it," she said, using her hand to show the height difference. The Queen said the crown had been "very unwieldy" when her father wore it.

"It's difficult to always remember that diamonds are stones—so, very heavy," said interviewer and contributor Alastair Bruce.

"Yes," Her Majesty agreed. "Fortunately, my father and I have about the same sort of shaped head, but once you put it on, it stays. I mean, it just remains itself."

Wearing the crown requires The Queen to stay very still. In fact, she can't even look down at her speech if she's wearing the crown to a public speaking engagement.

"You have to take the speech up," she said, "because if you did [look down], your neck would break. It would fall off." 

She then added, "So, there are some disadvantages to crowns. But, otherwise, they're quite important things."

Queen Elizabeth II Gives Rare Insight Into Her 1953 Coronation

In addition to discussing the key coronation item, Her Majesty looked back on her own coronation all those years ago. Bruce showed her a video of her traveling to Westminster Abbey in the Gold State Coach that weighed close to four tons.

"Horrible," The Queen said. She later explained the coach was "not very comfortable." Still, the monarch rode in the carriage for about four or five miles that day.

Watch the video to see her talk about her crown and her famous coronation. 

This is the first interview The Queen has given throughout her six-decade reign. In fact, she was the only member of the royal family who had never sat down for a formal interview until this point.

The Coronation airs on Smithsonian Channel in the U.S. Jan. 14 at 8 p.m. ET. It was made in partnership with the BBC and Australian Broadcasting Corporation and is part of the Royal Collection Season, a collaboration between the BBC and Royal Collection Trust.