When the king is crowned on May 6, he will probably be thinking back to his first public appearance in Westminster Abbey, almost 70 years ago.
The four-year-old Prince of Wales attended the coronation of his mother, Queen Elizabeth, in 1953, as millions of Britons watched on television.
Sitting between the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret, Charles had a gloomy expression on his face because of the ‘gunk’ used to flatten his hair.
Dressed in a silk shirt, the young prince later joined his mother, father and two-year-old sister Princess Anne on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, where she echoed the rapturous well-wishes of the crowd of 150,000 that gathered at The Mall. recording themselves.
A glum-looking Prince Charles was brought halfway through his mother’s coronation in 1953 and sat between the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret
Four-year-old Charles arrives at Westminster Abbey at 11:30am with nanny Helen Lightbody
The Queen sits in the coronation chair with the heavy St. Edward’s Crown now on her head
He also “brutally got his paws” on St. Edward’s Crown, raising fears that he might drop it.
At Charles’ own coronation, it will be his grandson, Prince George, nine, who will be watching from almost the same spot. And he, too, will one day have his own coronation in the historic abbey.
On the day itself, June 2, Charles and Anne saw their mother leave for the abbey from an upstairs window in the palace at around 10:20 am.
They were joined by 50 other children who had been invited to attend Her Majesty’s departure with her consort, the Duke of Edinburgh.
At 11:30 a.m., Charles had been taken to the abbey by his nanny Helen Lightbody, just before the anointing of his mother by Archbishop of Canterbury Geoffrey Fisher.
Anne was deemed too young to attend and remained in the palace.
Seated in the abbey between his grandmother and aunt, Charles was seen resting his head on a clenched fist.
Decades later, Charles told his biographer that he was upset because the Palace barber cut his hair too short and glued it to his head “with the most horrible gunk.”
Lady Moyra Campbell, one of the Queen’s six ladies-in-waiting, later revealed that the “gunk” was Prince Philip’s hair lotion.
The Daily Mail reported at the time: ‘At first his chin and hands rested on the balustrade, but in spite of this uneasy attitude he took a keen interest in the events around him and frequently made remarks to the Queen Mother.
“She then put him on a stool so he could see better.”
The Queen Mother, too, “continued to smile and bow to him” as the young prince pointed in the direction of his father.
Prince Charles watches from Buckingham Palace as his mother leaves for the coronation
Decades later, Charles told his biographer that he was upset because the palace barber cut his hair too short and glued it to his head “with the most hideous gunk.”
Charles is addressed by his grandmother, Elizabeth The Queen Mother during the Queen’s coronation. His aunt, Princess Margaret, is very interested
Shortly after 5:30 p.m., the royal family appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. Charles and Anne emerged first
After the service, the Queen returned to Buckingham Palace by a processional route past Trafalgar Square, Marble Arch, Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus.
It lasted nearly two hours and was designed to be seen by as many people as possible.
Once back in the palace, Her Majesty pinned the coronation medal to her son’s chest.
It was his first award and has been cherished ever since by the King, who has worn it at subsequent official events over the decades.
Shortly after 5:30 p.m., the royal family appeared on the balcony, but it was Charles and Anne who came out first.
They waved excitedly to the sea of well-wishers packed into The Mall, before the Queen emerged with the Imperial State Crown still on her head and the State robes behind her.
After her followed much of the rest of the royal family, led by the Duke of Edinburgh and the Queen Mother.
There was also the Duchess of Kent and her 17-year-old son, the Duke of Kent, whose father Prince George had died in a plane crash 11 years earlier.
As the Queen shared the cheers of the frenzied crowd of about 150,000, it was Charles standing beside her, holding her hand.
As well as being fascinated by the Queen’s bracelets, he was distracted by an RAF fly-past of 20 Meteor jets forming the letters ER.
Charles’s 1953 Coronation Day outfit. It is now on display in the Throne Room at Buckingham Palace
Charles received a personal invitation to the coronation from his mother, the Queen
Prince Charles and Princess Anne pose with the Queen, Queen Mother, Prince Philip and other senior royals to celebrate the coronation.
The newly crowned queen, followed by her ladies-in-waiting, carries the orb and scepter
The Queen appeared on the balcony a total of six times that evening. On their way to bed around 7 pm, Charles and Anne were allowed to wave one last time to the audience.
Anne Glenconner, a former lady-in-waiting who served as bridesmaid at the coronation, previously shared how Charles showed his mischievous side on the big day.
After the royal party returned to Buckingham Palace after the ceremony, Charles picked up the heavy Imperial state crown, causing him to fear he might drop it.
“Prince Charles got his paws on it, no matter how old he was, when we returned to Buckingham Palace,” she said.
“Because (the Queen) took it off, put it on a table, and Prince Charles went to it.
And we thought he was going to drop it. We thought, “Oh my god, that would be a bad omen”.
“But fortunately, I think, my mother, as lady-in-waiting, snatched it from him and took it.”
Charles and his sister also made mischief by covering their faces with their hands when the Queen attempted to pose for official photos with the Duke of Edinburgh.
Her Majesty had to put a hand on her son to calm him down before the photo was taken by royal photographer Cecil Beaton.
In a BBC tribute to his mother in 2012, as she celebrated 50 years on the throne, Charles recalled practicing wearing the St. Edward’s Crown – which weighs nearly 5 pounds – prior to her coronation.
The Daily Mail’s coverage of the Queen’s coronation covered every glorious detail
Large crowds gathered outside Buckingham Palace to see the young Queen Elizabeth
The coronation was a moment of rare joy for a nation still exhausted by the war effort
“I remember when my mama came, you know, when we were bathed as children, wearing the crown. It was kind of funny – practice,” he said.
In recent weeks and days, the king has done his own training before May 6.
In March, the Mail On Sunday revealed how the coronation stage had been recreated in the Buckingham Palace ballroom as part of an operation dubbed Golden Orb.
There the King and Queen Consort learned the complex choreography that will be required of them.