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News > Community > The Coronation

The Coronation

As we look forward to celebrating His Majesty King Charles III's Coronation on 6 May 2023, we look back to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation in 1953.
5 May 2023
Written by Tara Biddle
Hervey Adams painting of Tonbridge School 1953
Hervey Adams painting of Tonbridge School 1953

Headmaster Laurence Waddy with some of the boys and staff - July 1953 (Note the Barge hanging on the tree).

The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II on 2 June 1953 was not directly celebrated at Tonbridge as the whole School was sent on an exeat from the morning of 1 June to the evening of 3 June. Presumably many boys and staff joined the crowds celebrating in London or watched it on newly-acquired televisions in their family homes. By happy chance the Lord Mayor of London in Coronation year was an Old Tonbridgian, Sir Rupert de la Bere (PS 1907-10).


Sir Rupert de la Bere (PS 1907-10)

Tonbridge celebrated 1953 for another more parochial reason, the Quatercentenary of the School, which resulted in a royal visit by The Queen Mother in October 1953, who named the gateway mounted with a boar's head on each pillar as the 'Queen Mother's Gateway'. Her visit was particularly popular with the boys as she asked for an extra week's holiday.

The Queen Mother with Head Boy, R E Curnock (PH 49-53)

As we look forward to celebrating the Coronation of King Charles III on Saturday 6 May 2023, Tonbridge School will be flying the Union Flag from Friday 5 May for the whole weekend. Novi parents will enjoy a Coronation-themed tea in Skinners’ Library Garden on Friday afternoon and the boys and staff will be able to celebrate during the long exeat weekend.

Headmaster James Priory and the Praes, April 2023


David Walsh


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