96-year-old WGC woman remembers the Queen's Coronation ahead of Platinum Jubilee

Ruth Hayes, was 26 and married to a lieutenant in The Royal Navy and had 2 tickets to the event.  

Ruth Hayes, was 26 and married to a lieutenant in The Royal Navy, who was stationed at HMS Indomitable and had 2 tickets to the event. - Credit: Nicola Button

As the occasion of Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee weekend nears, a 96-year-old WGC woman has reminisced about attending the Coronation in 1953. 

Ruth Hayes was 26 and married to a lieutenant in The Royal Navy who was stationed at HMS Indomitable and had two tickets to the event.  

Lieutenant Murray Hayes R.N. was in Malta at the time and had been brought back to Portsmouth to attend the Coronation and sit outside the Admiralty for the procession. He died in 2012 at the age of 92.

On a cold and wet morning, Ruth and her husband went up to London at 7am by bus. Ruth noticed that the crowd had been there all night and had been drenched.

“It was very exciting but we were disappointed with the weather but one of the great things was that there were loud speakers and we heard that Mount Everest had been conquered by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. There were lots of cheers for that.  

“Then we saw the procession go past from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey. We saw the Queen in the carriage and I felt sorry for the head of the Air Force services and the Army because they were quite old compared to us and they were all on horseback. After that we heard the service and then the procession came back,” said Ruth, who was in the WRNS before she married. 

She remembers thinking how heavy the crown must have been for the Queen as she wore it all the way back to the palace. She understood that the coach was rather uncomfortable and the noise from the crowd was tremendous. 

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“I could hear it swelling as the procession approached and wondered if the coach was soundproofed as it must have been very loud for the Queen. After the procession passed, we left the Admiralty and ran towards Buckingham Palace to see them coming out onto the balcony,” she remembered. 

Ruth is six months older than the Queen and her husband was six months older than the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip. Both couples got married on the same year, in 1947 and both had a son, one month apart the year after. “We have been in line with them for a long time,” Ruth added.

Ruth is six months older than the queen and she was in the WRNS before she married.

Ruth is six months older than the queen and she was in the WRNS before she married. - Credit: Nicola Button

Ruth also remembers the smallest details of being a little girl in boarding school when she attended the Silver Jubilee of George V in 1935, as well as the Coronation of George VI the following year and his passing. 

Along with her daughter, Nicola Button, Ruth will be attending a Platinum Jubilee street party in Sharman Close on Sunday, June 5, to celebrate the occasion.