Lady Pamela Hicks: Queen 'looked frail and alone' during coronation

Queen’s lady-in-waiting recalls Her Majesty ‘looking frail and utterly alone’ during her coronation – but says it was clear Her Majesty had ‘such inner strength’

  • Prince Philip’s cousin Lady Pamela is childhood friend and confidante of Queen 
  • 91-year-old was at Her Majesty’s side as lady-in-waiting for defining moments 
  • Shares intimate journal entries with daughter India in My Years With The Queen 

Prince Philip’s cousin Lady Pamela Hicks has claimed the Queen ‘looked frail and utterly alone’ during her coronation as she shares fascinating never-before-seen journal entries from her time as the monarch’s lady-in-waiting in a new documentary.

The 91-year-old, who is a childhood friend and confidante of the Her Majesty, 94, was by her side for some of her most defining moments, and has praised her ‘inner strength’.  

In ITV’s My Years With The Queen, which airs on Thursday at 9pm, Lady Pamela shares her intimate memories with her daughter India Hicks, 53, in the first of a series of programmes to mark Her Majesty’s 95th birthday on April 21. 

She discussed attending the Queen’s coronation with her family – including her father Lord Mountbatten – and admitted wondering how ‘a young woman of 27, would have the strength to undertake this duty all her life’. 

But Lady Pamela, who praised the monarch’s sense of duty and her loyalty, added: ‘I think one knew she would, because there’s such inner strength there.’

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Prince Philip’s cousin Lady Pamela Hicks has claimed the Queen ‘looked frail and utterly alone’ during her coronation (pictured) as she shares fascinating never-before-seen journal entries from her time as the monarch’s lady-in-waiting in a new documentary

Recalling the coronation in 1953, Lady Pamela said: ‘[The Queen] looked so frail, just this one young woman. 

‘Seeing her, this young woman of 27, utterly alone, I wondered how she’d have the strength to undertake this duty all her life. I think one knew she would, because there’s such inner strength there.’

She also reveals her uncle Lord Brabourne wore robes borrowed from a film costume department for the occasion. 

Lady Pamela says the Queen’s life has been ‘entirely dictated by her sense of duty’ and describes her as an ‘amazing person’.

‘There’s such inner strength there. And she has just remained like that throughout her life,’ she says. ‘[Duty is] a word that’s barely used and certainly not understood but duty was good. It gave you a goal.’

The 91-year-old, who is a childhood friend and confidante of the Her Majesty, 94, was by her side for some of her most defining moments, and has praised her ‘inner strength’. Pictured left to right: India Hicks with her mother Lady Pamela Hicks

Lady Pamela tells how her father, Lord Mountbatten, urged her to keep a diary after being asked to accompany the Queen on the Commonwealth tour she undertook on behalf of her ailing father King George VI in February 1952.

Days after landing in Nairobi, where they were greeted by ‘men wearing swords and decorations’, the tour came to an abrupt halt when news broke the king had died.

The Queen and her party were staying at the Treetops hotel in Kenya, and Lady Pamela describes how she ‘climbed up that ladder as a Princess and then, in the morning, she came down the ladder as Queen’.

After being informed by his ‘stunned’ equerry, the Duke of Edinburgh suggested he and ‘Lillibet’ go for a walk by a trout stream.

Lady Pamela shares her intimate memories with her daughter India Hicks, 53, in My Years With The Queen (pictured: the Queen and Prince Philip waving in New Zealand on the coronation world tour in December 1953)

Lady Pamela recalls: ‘You could see the moment she’s been told, the body language. She stopped walking and slumped a bit. And one thought, how awful for her.’  

During the Queen’s six-month tour of the Commonwealth following her coronation, Lady Pamela was by her side yet again and discusses the gruelling schedule and being endlessly hounded by royal fans. 

Reading a journal entry from Australia, she recounts: ‘I sat with Lillibet under a tree, listening to her holding forth about being marooned on a desert island.

The Queen and her party were staying at the Treetops hotel in Kenya (pictured at a polo match days earlier), and Lady Pamela describes how she ‘climbed up that ladder as a Princess and then, in the morning, she came down the ladder as Queen’

‘But she cheered up considerably, when a boatload of trippers appeared shouting whether we had seen the Queen, where is she?

‘Lillibet, in slacks, tore down to the beach, pointed to the other side of the island and yelled, “She went that-a-way” and jumped up and down with joy as the boat disappeared around the corner.’

In another entry she tells how the Queen and Philip were required to wave non-stop, remarking: ‘[Her Majesty has] developed tremendous muscles in her arms. Sitting still in a car, being yelled at and having to wave is part of the tour that Philip loathes.’ 

Lady Pamela Hicks, Queen Victoria’s great-great-granddaughter and former lady-in-waiting to the Queen, regularly shares stories of her life and regal encounters on her daughter India’s Instagram

She goes on to explain Philip’s bewilderment at constantly waking up with a cold hand, before realising he was waving ‘in his sleep’. 

Lady Pamela reveals how the Queen used to keep chocolates in her room to stop her ‘greedy’ family from stealing them, and also once riled her mother for querying why she needed so many new dresses. 

The Queen’s ‘thrifty’ nature is further highlighted when India Hicks, who is Prince Charles’ goddaughter and was a bridesmaid at his wedding, recalls being handed down Princess Anne’s thermal underwear. 

My Years with The Queen, Thursday 9pm ITV 

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