“A truly remarkable man - he loves Yorkshire and Yorkshire loves him” King Charles’ close friend of 50 years gives rare insight
Earls, Dukes, Countesses and Hons donned their finest to show homage to the 26-year-old young Queen, with coronets and trimmed ermine robes a necessity.
Some 8000 people crowded into Westminster Abbey to witness the historic proceedings.
But 70 years later, King Charles III is planning a very different sort of coronation, where charity representatives and civic heroes will take precedence over the landed gentry.
Ceremonial dress including coronets and ermine robes is being actively discouraged, with a “toned down dress code” being favoured to fit the public mood during the cost-of-living crisis.
But one peer who will be in attendance is Lord Halifax, who owns the Garrowby Estate in the Yorkshire Wolds.
Lord Halifax has been a close friend of the King for more than half a century.
Speaking to the Yorkshire Post earlier this week, he said: “Lady Halifax and I shall be attending the Coronation in Westminster Abbey on Saturday.
“In 1953 I watched the Coronation procession from a stand in the rain. My grandfather (then The Earl of Halifax) attended Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation.
“However, in 1999 the entitlement of most of the Hereditary Peers to sit in the House of Lords was removed. On Saturday I believe my wife and I shall be attending as friends of both the King and Queen Camilla for over 50 years.
“Both the King and Queen Camilla much enjoy their visits to Yorkshire. The King first stayed at Garrowby in 1970 for the Gimcrack Dinner at York Racecourse.
“The King is a truly remarkable human being. A man with a strong sense of duty – down to earth, compassionate with a good sense of humour - he loves Yorkshire and Yorkshire loves him.”
Lord Halifax is due to attend a civic service of celebration at York Minster on Sunday.
Some of Yorkshire’s other key aristocrats, including the Earl of Harewood, David Lascelles, and Bolton Abbey owner Peregrine Cavendish, the Duke of Devonshire - who served as a page in 1953 - have remained tight-lipped as to whether they are recipients of the prized invitation, which was designed by heraldic artist Andrew Jamieson.
Lord and Lady Fitzalan-Howard, of Carlton Towers, have also not confirmed their attendance, but plans are afoot at the stately home near Selby to hold a lunch in the state rooms for members of the public to watch the service.
Lord Fitzalan-Howard’s brother is the Duke of Norfolk, the Earl Marshal, who is tasked with the organisation of the Coronation.
The King is believed to have personally explained to some old friends why invitation numbers have been cut to around 1000.
Those who have made it onto the guestlist from Yorkshire include West Yorkshire’s Mayor Tracy Brabin.
She said: “From a council estate in Batley to go to the Coronation, what an absolute honour.”
Other key figures from the region who will attend include Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who is set to give a Bible reading.