Picture perfect royal memories

Audrey Johnson has lots of things from the Coronation which remind her of her husband - who passed away 33 years ago - who was part of the coronation parade in 1953.
Audrey Johnson has lots of things from the Coronation which remind her of her husband - who passed away 33 years ago - who was part of the coronation parade in 1953.

PROUD resident Audrey Johnson has kept her memories of the Queen’s coronation alive for nearly 60 years by treasuring her late husband’s commemorative medal from the royal occasion and looking back at souvenir magazine pictures.

Mrs Johnson, 81, celebrated the coronation on June 2, 1953, in Pontefract with her parents, while her husband Robert, a RAF senior aircraftsman, was in London as part of the service’s royal duty.

She said: “I have very special memories of the day and I remember feeling so proud of Bob being involved in the celebrations.

“His position was not far from the palace and he was selected for duty because he was tall.

“After weeks of spit polishing boots they were eventually sent down to London. He talked of the non-stop rain, which turned the Mall into a sea. So much for all the boot polishing!”

Mrs Johnson had married her husband the previous year.

She added: “He was awarded the Queen’s coronation medal which eventually arrived together with a citation from Buckingham Palace that the medal be worn in commemoration of that day – both of which I have kept safe.

“My parents and I listened to the radio broadcast of the coronation and when we saw the photos of the day in the Picture Post the week after, it was even more extravagant than we imagined.

“We decorated our front windows like many neighbours with pictures and streamers. Pontefract town was a mass of red, white and blue decorations across the streets which got soaked and some fell apart – but it was a day to remember.

Mr Johnson, who died in 1979, left the RAF in 1953 and became a police officer in the former West Riding Constabulary’s Pontefract division in 1954.

Mrs Johnson added: “It’s hard to believe that almost 60 years have passed since the coronation. The Queen has set us all an example – long may she reign.”