Pageantry on Film

As recent TV scheduling has foregrounded with typical subtlety, Queen Elizabeth II has now been on the throne for 60 years. In three years or so she will surpass Queen Victoria’s reign of 63 years and 216 days. The Prince of Wales, however, has already had to wait longer than Victoria’s eldest son Edward to wear the crown. A less-than-popular Edward VII reached the throne at the age of 59; Charles is now 63.

Charles’s coronation – should it ever come – will be broadcast across the world in startlingly high definition, as was the Queen’s Jubilee. For Edward’s 1902 coronation, however, the French film-maker George Melies was forced to rely on a re-enactment. You can watch it here.

For further discussion of the filming of Edward VII’s coronation see essays by Tom Gunning, Bronwen Edwards and Angus Trumble in The Edwardian Sense, ed Michael Hatt and Morna O’Neill (Yale 2010), p.15-40.

Meanwhile, footage of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee can be found here, on the BFI’s excellent Youtube channel (which includes plenty of late-Victorian/Edwardian films, for royalists and non-royalists alike).

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