The Queen Churchill

The Queen vs No 10: Monarch defied Churchill in televising her coronation

The PM considered it too much of a 'sacred ritual' for TV screens

The Queen ‘stood up’ to Prime Minister Churchill as they clashed over the decision to televise her coronation, a new documentary on Channel 5 explains.

The Queen vs No 10: Behind Closed Doors will take an in-depth look at the queen’s relationship, as monarch, with the prime ministers who have come and gone during her 68 years as head of state.

And the programme will discuss how Her Majesty defied wartime hero Winston Churchill in the lead up to her coronation in June 1953.

The Queen
The Queen stood up to Churchill on the matter of televising her coronation (Credit: /

What does Queen vs No 10 say about her relationship with Churchill?

The documentary explains how Churchill was very positive about Elizabeth becoming Queen. He had high high hopes for a ‘rebirth’ of Britain.

But she had her own mind and decided to stand up to Churchill when he objected to the coronation being shown on TV.

Read more: The Queen wants to return to work at Buckingham Palace to ‘boost the nation’s morale’

Charles Anson, former press secretary to the Queen, explains on the programme: “I think the Queen thought, ‘Look, the coronation is very important to people. The public, the British population, the world has been through this awful suffering of two world wars’.

Winston Churchill
Churchill didn’t want the ceremony on TV (Credit: World History Archive/Cover Images)

“There was still rationing taking place in Britain until the mid-late 1950s. It was a fairly grim time and into it, stepped this young Queen and her marvelous husband, Prince Philip.

“It was a new era and a new age and it was young. I think the Queen felt the coronation should be shown to a wider public. And that debate went back and forth between No 10 and the Palace.”

The Queen thought, ‘Look, the coronation is very important to people’.

Andrew Rawnsley, chief political commentator The Observer, says that Churchill was “very much” of the belief that the coronation – a “sacred ritual” – should not be filmed by TV cameras.

But as it turned out, millions tuned in to watch the coronation live.

The Queen
The Queen’s coronation ‘instantly bonded’ her with the public (Credit: /

Queen relied on Churchill’s ‘sage advice’

Andrew explains: “It was a great success. A way of almost instantly bonding this new young monarch with her public.”

Read more: The Queen to be removed as head of state from Barbados next year

The Daily Mail’s editor-at-large, Richard Kay, says on The Queen VS No.10 that the new monarch represented “a degree of optimism”. This was Britain shaking off the despondency that had cloaked it since the war years.

The documentary’s narrator tells viewers: “Standing up to Churchill was rare. But the Queen often relied on him for sage advice.”

– The Queen vs No 10: Behind Closed Doors airs on Saturday (September 19) at 9pm on Channel 5

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