The new King and Queen had five months in which to prepare for their coronation, during which time they became closer than ever. "They were so particularly together: they leant so much on the other," recalled Elizabeth's sister Rose. The new King kept to the coronation date that had been set for his brother - May 12, 1937. Elizabeth's role on the day was, as ever, to soothe the King's nerves. They had been woken at 3am by loudspeakers being tested in The Mall and, as Bertie wrote later, "I could eat no breakfast and had a sinking feeling inside."

Tory MP Chips Channon recorded Elizabeth's demeanor in the Abbey as "dignified but smiling". The processions and ceremony lasted from 11am to 5pm, after which the couple had to pose for interminable photographs and, still in full regalia, make five appearances on the Palace balcony. For the King there was one final ordeal, a live radio broadcast linking millions of his subjects throughout the world. With Elizabeth by his side he told them: "The Queen and I will always keep in our hearts the inspiration of this day."
gifgif 10 of 18gif