Gyles Brandreth reveals Dame Emma Thompson came to the aid of a coronation guest
Gyles Brandreth has revealed Dame Emma Thompson came to the aid of a fellow coronation guest when they began having a “coughing fit” during the ceremony.
Following the service at Westminster Abbey on Saturday, the writer and broadcaster recalled how the Oscar-winning actress produced a cough sweet from her handbag which was passed down the rows to help relieve the cougher amid one of the songs.
Brandreth hailed it as one of the “wonderful” moments during the ceremony, describing it as a “magnificent” but “human” day.
Speaking to the BBC about the service, he said: “I was in the abbey for this extraordinary day that was majestic, magnificent and moving.
“It was deeply moving to be there in the place where for 1000 years and more sovereigns have all been crowned, and to witness the crowning of King Charles III and Queen Camilla.
“I looked around at that very moment and there were tears in a lot of people’s eyes, it was a very moving moment, a magnificent day, but a human day as well.”
The broadcaster also reflected on someone of the notable individuals he met, including the oldest recipient of the Victoria Cross still alive, as well as Dame Emma’s act of kindness.
He recalled: “There was a coughing fit just nearby and I thought ‘What’s going to happen now’ and Dame Emma Thompson was fumbling in her bag and produced a cough sweet which was then passed down the row and given to the cougher then they stopped, which was wonderful, because we were having such music”.
Reflecting on Charles and Camilla’s new roles, Brandreth, who is a friend of the royal couple, said: “It is a great responsibility they’ve taken off, but they’ve accepted it completely.
“I think it’s the reason we were so moved, you could see the stillness in him, the concentration, he was there in the moment.
“For him, it was a major spiritual day, he believes in it all, he wants it to work, and it will work because of his commitment.”
The service was attended by more than 2,000 guests with TV presenters Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly, Lord Lloyd-Webber, Dame Judi Dench and Stephen Fry among the host of famous faces.
US singer Katy Perry, Australian musician Nick Cave, British Vogue’s editor-in-chief Edward Enninful, BBC director-general Tim Davie, actress Dame Joanna Lumley, TV host Jay Blades and singer Lionel Richie, who will perform at the Coronation Concert on Sunday, were also on the guest list.
As pop star Perry left the abbey, she appeared to lose her footing and was supported by other guests from the ceremony as she nearly took a tumble.
Perry, who is an ambassador for The British Asian Trust, a charity founded by the King when he was prince of Wales, will also perform at the concert on Sunday at Windsor Castle.
Meanwhile, Dame Joanna described the coronation as an “extraordinary” occasion during an interview with Sky News after the service.
“It was just an extraordinary feeling, first of all it was a bit like a cocktail party because you seem to know everybody who’s coming in,” she said.
“The music’s playing, it’s adorable, we’re looking around.
“Then gradually it begins closing in, and it’s a bit more formal, then suddenly it’s like we’ve stepped over the threshold into a mediaeval ceremony, something so extraordinary and uplifting, very religious, it was extraordinary.”
Spice Girl Melanie Brown also spoke to ITV outside the abbey, recounting the girl group’s famous encounter with Charles in 1997.
She said: “I think because we were all so excited on the day we all just kind of freaked out a bit, and broke protocol, and I gave him a kiss and then Geri gave him a kiss and pinched his bum… we were just overwhelmed with excitedness.
“I don’t think I’d do that again though… we were all just too excited.”
Singer-songwriter Joan Armatrading, who received a CBE for services to music, charity and equal rights in the late Queen’s 2020 birthday honours, and magician Dynamo, real name Steven Frayne, were also pictured seated in the abbey.
Heads of state and kings and queens from across the globe, everyday heroes and family and friends of the royal couple are also on the guest list.
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