Why we should all enjoy seeing history in the making at today's Coronation, says Christa Ackroyd

In my granny’s bedroom was an old blanket box. I use the term loosely because it never saw a blanket as far as I know.

I never really knew exactly what was in it. It seemed to be a mixture of everything, a huge Pandora’s box at the foot of her bed full of memories and usefulness.

If I asked to see an old family photo granny always seem to find it there. If I wanted an atlas, one could always be found after ten minutes of rummaging about in the blanket box. If I needed a pattern for granny to crochet me a waistcoat (well it was the ‘70s) she produced several to choose from tucked somewhere among the hundreds of cuttings and magazines she kept in pristine condition along with three decades worth of Women’s Weekly. So if I was doing something for a history project all I needed could be found in that blanket box too.

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Granny kept scores and scores of newspapers and magazines depicting major events which happened during her life. Many of them were London Illustrated news which was surprising as I am pretty sure Granny never set foot in London. There was even the odd copy of Vogue, not granny’s style at all, but I suppose special occasions meant splashing out on what was seen as the poshest of publications. By far the biggest collection was Royal. Royal births, Royal weddings and the biggest bundle of all dedicated to the Coronation of our late Queen Elizabeth.

HRH Prince Charles visits L3Harris London Training Centre in Crawley. Pic Steve RobardsHRH Prince Charles visits L3Harris London Training Centre in Crawley. Pic Steve Robards
HRH Prince Charles visits L3Harris London Training Centre in Crawley. Pic Steve Robards

Granny lived just down the road from us and we often talked about the Coronation if only for the fact she liked to tell me that, like so many households, it was the first time they had bought a television. Twenty million people watched the Coronation in 1953, which made it the first TV event where television viewing outstripped radio and when, to have bought a TV, specially for the big day meant the least you could do was fling open your doors, bring out the open sandwiches, and share the whole experience with family, friends and neighbours. And that is how I want it to be again today and over the two days that follow. I have bought a Coronation tin of biscuits to eat and then keep buttons in afterwards as a homage to my gran. I have purchased a Coronation mug like the one I have saved from mum’s cupboard from the last Coronation and ordered two Coronation quiches from the lovely Wakefield-based Karen from Bake-Off to avoid the stress of mine turning out with the inevitable soggy bottoms. As for its contents I like broad beans and I like quiche though I never remember it being called as such as a child. They were just savoury flans, usually egg and bacon flans. But I will give this one a go because it’s official. And I am unashamedly a Royalist. I have bought buns with appropriate crown toppers and already made the biggest batch of Coronation Chicken in readiness for tomorrow’s party, because today I will plonk myself in front of the telly and watch every last second of history in the making. Talking of making that is exactly what two excited little granddaughters have been doing this week, making the Charles and Camilla scarecrows they have been tasked to produce for the village’s Coronation celebrations. And they are so excited. Preparations began in earnest with a visit to our local charity shop where they spent hours choosing what they thought Camilla should wear which, according to little minds, had to be long and sparkly. They have made golden crowns complete with stuck on jewels. Queen Camilla the scarecrow will also wear a fox fur collar (£1.50 at the said charity shop) and long evening gloves which cost more than the entire outfit put together but they insisted upon them. Grandad donated a smart suit for King Charles that he had not a hope in hell of ever fitting into again. And Bob’s your uncle two scarecrows have been created to grace the footpath outside their home. There will be a grand unveiling at the street party tomorrow. And it will be wonderful.

These next few days are about making memories, memories of an event most of us have never witnessed before. I am so pleased King Charles as defender of the faith is including all faiths in the service. I am even more delighted that we as subjects will get to swear an allegiance to him and the Crown as part of the ceremony. And I will do so willingly because I believe the Crown makes our country greater than it would be without them. It will of course cost a fortune but then again it will create a fortune with a billion pounds in tourism predicted. But more important it will bring family and friends, streets and communities together. And we will be able to say we were there, if not in person, in spirit.

I know people, good people who because of their charitable works have been invited to the Coronation concert as a reward for all their efforts and I am so thrilled for them. Because Good Deeds are very much a part of this Coronation. And quite often a good deed costs nothing but time and effort. And yet has the power to change lives not just for the recipient but for the giver as well.

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And no one has changed more lives than King Charles himself and we must never forget that. Dismissed as something of a crackpot in the seventies and eighties we should remember it was he who began the conversation about conservation in this country including organic farming, community based architecture instead of high rise developments and even the scourge of plastic, just three topics now seen as vital for both us and the planet. But if like me you admire the man and ever need to justify his contribution to our country, just mention the Prince’s Trust to his detractors. More than a million young people have been helped to turn their lives around. More than 125,000 entrepreneurs have been created and around 400,000 businesses have been supported. And all because of a man who needn’t have lifted a finger if he didn’t want to. But he did so quietly and without fuss. I am glad Prince Harry is going to be there today because I am sure his father wants him there. And whatever happens in life family is family is family, Royal or not. So I hope not too much will be made of his presence or indeed the absence of his wife and children. It is King Charles’ day. It is a huge momentous occasion watched around the globe and I am glad he has Camilla by his side. He loves her and I genuinely believe she is good for him. She makes him laugh and dare I say it pricks his pomposity. And I am glad she is being named as Queen as our late Queen made it very clear she wanted. Enjoy today. Enjoy the next couple of days. Above all make memories to last a lifetime and be glad that we live in a country that has a Royal family who represent our unique constitution, our sense of occasion and above all our sense of pride. Today is history in the making. Relish it and be a part of it. Long live the King.