In this June 2, 1953 file photo, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II wearing the bejeweled Imperial Crown and carrying the Orb and Scepter with Cross, leaves Westminster Abbey, London, at the end of her coronation ceremony. Queen Elizabeth II reveals the secrets of giving a speech while wearing a weighty crown, in unusually candid comments that are part of a new documentary to be aired on the BBC on Jan 14, 2018, on her coronation and the symbolism of the crown jewels. (AP PHOTO / FILE)
LONDON — Britain's Queen Elizabeth II has revealed the secrets of giving a speech while wearing a weighty crown, in unusually candid comments in a new documentary on her 1953 coronation and the symbolism of the crown jewels.
You can't look down to read the speech, you have to take the speech up. Because if you did, your neck would break. It would fall off
Queen Elizabeth II
Among the revelations of the BBC program airing Sunday is that the crown jewels were kept safe during World War II by being hidden in a biscuit tin buried at Windsor Castle. Although it was known the jewels had been taken to the castle 32 kilometers west of London for safekeeping, details had not been widely discussed.
The queen also discusses the challenges of being head of state. She jokes that she can't look down while wearing the Imperial State Crown — which weighs 2 pounds 13oz (1.28 kilograms). The crown is worn by the monarch when delivering a speech for the State Opening of Parliament.
"You can't look down to read the speech, you have to take the speech up. Because if you did, your neck would break. It would fall off," the queen said in excerpts released ahead of the program. "So there are some disadvantages to crowns, but otherwise they're quite important things."
In the program, the queen notes that the crown has been reduced in height since being worn by her father, King George VI.
"Fortunately, my father and I have about the same sort of shaped head," the queen said. "But once you put it on, it stays. I mean, it just remains on."
In this June 2, 1953 file photo, the Archbishop of Canterbury holds the ritual crown of England, the crown of St. Edward, over the head of Queen Elizabeth II, prior to the actual crowning at the coronation ceremony in Westminster Abbey, London. The Queen, seated on King Edward's Chair, is hidden by the Archbishop's robes. (AP PHOTO / FILE)