St John’s Ambulance volunteer, 93, to celebrate third coronation in her lifetime with special lunch
A woman aged 93 will raise a toast to King Charles as one of the few people to witness three coronations in their lifetime.
Frances Knappett was a St John’s Ambulance volunteer when His Majesty’s mother Queen Elizabeth II was crowned 70 years ago.
Mrs Knappett remembers her second coronation on June 2, 1953 being a washout, just like the rain threatening to put a dampener on King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla’s big day. She also recalls George VI’s in 1937 when she was at school.
She will watch TV coverage on Saturday over a special lunch with friends at The Spinney care home in Forest View, Chingford, east London.
Mrs Knappett said: “I was 23 years-old at the time of the late Queen’s.
“Myself and my fellow St John’s group were stationed outside Swam and Edgars Department Store on Piccadilly from 2.00am in the morning until the late afternoon.
“Most of the time it was pouring with rain and I recall crowds of people laying on the pavements during the night. They were wrapped in whatever they could find to keep dry and warm.
“Sadly, we never got to see the Queen, only the very top of her coach.
“We found a box to stand on to get a view, however the police told us to get down and we were not allowed to use it.
“Many in the crowd had periscopes to see the procession. We did however get to see the top of the head of Queen Salote of Tonga. It was a very long day… especially in the rain.”
Staff and residents at The Spinney discovered Mrs Knappett’s special role when the date was set for King Charles III’s coronation.
Mrs Knappett proudly shared pictures of her time in the St John’s Ambulance Brigade.
A day of celebrations is planned including a special lunch prepared on site by head chef Eddy Wong and a band to entertain residents and their families throughout the day.
The Spinney is an award-winning, 43-bed care home, where residents thrive in a compassionate and caring environment.
The dedicated team of specialists offer residential, dementia and end of life care.
Mrs Knappett says: “It was a day I will never forget and I’m looking forward to soaking up the atmosphere a third time around, safe in the knowledge I won’t get caught in the rain or have to get up at such an hour.
“The team has a day of activities planned and I know that spirits will be high as we celebrate a new era with a new King.”
Meanwhile, research by retailer Ocado reveals Londoners are the most patriotic Britons with over three quarters set to attended what might be “once-in-a-lifetime” local street parties.
With the official Coronation recipe revealed last week, the firm has seen a 78 per cent spike in searches for “quiche”.
Laura Rowe, Ocado’s food expert, said: “There’s no denying the coronation will be a huge moment in history – for most of us, a once in a lifetime occasion – so naturally we’re all geared up to celebrate.
“Gathering so many people and putting on such a spread can feel like a mammoth task, but we’ve made it easier than ever by hosting everything you could need in one place, without even having to leave the house.
“Whether you’re stocking up on classic British food and drink or those limited-edition novelties to dress up the house, Ocado’s all set to deliver this May.”