People praise Queen’s hilarious reaction on documentary
Viewers have praised the Queen’s reaction after she was told the crown jewels were hidden in a biscuit tin 60ft underneath Windsor Castle to keep them safe from the Nazis.
The 91-year-old was speaking with royal commentator Alastair Bruce for a special one-hour programme to mark the 65th anniversary of her coronation.
He revealed that a librarian removed the stones out of the jewels and placed them into a Bath Oliver biscuit tin before hiding them in Berkshire.
But the Queen seemed unimpressed by the news and simply said: ‘Hmm, did he remember where he put them? He might have died in the middle.’
Her reaction was noted by people watching ‘The Coronation’ on BBC1 and one viewer said: ‘You need better stories than jewels in a biscuit tin to impress the Queen.’
Twitter user Matt W added: ‘Queen being told of the jewels being hidden in a biscuit tin during the war ‘oh… did he tell anyone? What if he’d died?’ She is genuinely wonderful in The Coronation.’
The gems, including the Black Prince’s Ruby from the Imperial State Crown, were placed in the tin and buried under a sally port – a secret exit used in an emergency.
The Queen asked Mr Bruce: ‘You think they were at Windsor?’
He replied: ‘They were definitely, Ma’am. The librarian gouged the stones out of the crown jewels and wrapped them and put them into a jar and put them into a Bath Oliver tin and hid them. Brilliant.’
But she seemed unimpressed and quickly said: ‘Hmm, did he remember where he put them? He might have died in the middle.’
The Queen added: ‘We were told nothing – we were only children then. We didn’t know anything, all the pictures disappeared everything disappeared and one was never told anything.
‘It was a secret, I suppose.’
Her Majesty, who spent her war years at Windsor Castle for safety, was aware of the general story but did not know the details until told by Mr Bruce.
The story was unearthed for the documentary by Oliver Urquhart Irvine, the librarian and assistant keeper of the Queen’s Archives.
Mr Bruce said it was ‘so lovely’ because the Queen ‘had no idea’ and he said telling her ‘seemed strangely odd’.
He told The Times: ‘I think it’s gripping how personally involved George VI was and how secretive he was about it.
‘I think like father, like daughter, this sense of how utterly important the crown jewels are to the country is very much felt by Elizabeth II.’
Meanwhile, a choirboy also recalled the moment 8,000 people inside Westminster Abbey stood up thinking the Queen was going to walk in – only for four cleaners to appear.
The singer, who was one of the 400 choirboys who performed during the Coronation, said: ‘We were lined up in the front two rows and it was extremely cramped if you remember.
The crown jewels were placed in a jar which was the put into a Bath Oliver biscuit tin (pictured)
The Queen was told that the crown jewels (pictured, the Sovereign’s Sceptre) were buried under Windsor Castle
Millions of people lined the streets to watch the coronation in central London 65 years ago
‘The penultimate procession was the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret.
‘Everybody got terribly excited because the next one was the Queen.
‘And then there was sort of a bustle at the west end and everybody thought the Queen had arrived and everybody stood up, 8,000 people, when from underneath the organ loft came four cleaners with carpet sweepers.
‘They started to sweep the carpets to restore it to its pristine state and everybody laughed and sat down again.’
In the documentary the Queen also talked about the amusing trials and tribulations of being head of state.
She spoke candidly and with humour about the experience of her own coronation and the symbolic importance of artefacts associated with the sovereign in the one-hour programme.
Her Majesty jokingly stated you cannot look down when wearing the Imperial State Crown, which weighs 2lbs 13oz (1.28kgs), as your neck would ‘break’.
She also remembered how she was brought to a standstill when her robes ran against the carpet pile in Westminster Abbey during the event in 1953.
The documentary went on air at 8pm last night and is part of the Royal Collection Season. It can be watched on the BBC iPlayer.
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