The Queen’s Boobs

by Lorne Taichman

On June 2, 1953, about a year and a half following the death of her father, King George VI, Princess Elizabeth was crowned Queen Elizabeth II in an elaborate coronation ceremony in Westminster Abbey.  For an 11year old, the coronation provided an opportunity to glimpse at something forbidden and unbelievably exciting – the Queen’s breasts, or as we neighborhood kids called them, the Queen’s boobs.

We were living in Toronto, proud members of the British Commonwealth of Nations.  In elementary school we studied British history in lieu of Canadian history, read British authors rather than Canadian authors, and at the beginning of every movie, every play, even before the start of wrestling matches at Maple Leaf Gardens, we stood and sang God Save the King.  In the front of every classroom hung a map of the world with the British Isles in the center colored pink.  Canada was situated to the left of Britain and, like all Commonwealth countries, Canada was shaded pink.  When Princess Elizabeth visited Canada in 1951 we stood for hours on Bloor Street waiting to get a glimpse of her as she rode by in an open car.  She was young, beautiful and royal.

Shortly after that Canadian visit, King George died in his sleep.

The King is dead. God save the Queen!

For days, funereal music was broadcast nonstop on the radio with occasional breaks for a story or two of his last days.  I recall one report of his having gone hunting in cold weather a few weeks earlier wearing battery-heated stockings.  Everything the royal family did was of interest to us.  We were loyal subjects.

If you have been watching the Netflix series The Crown you will know the importance given to the coronation of a new monarch and you will also know that at one point in the proceedings the Queen’s hand, forehead and breast are anointed with holy oil.  It did not take long for a tiny band of 11 year old boys to realize just what this part of the ceremony meant for them – the Queen’s boobs were to be exposed for all to see.  Just thinking about the Queen baring her breasts in the middle of Westminster Abbey sent us into fits of uncontrollable nervous giggling.  However, when we learned that the coronation was to be televised, yes televised, we were beyond reach.  We would be able to see the forbidden fruit.  For kids who seriously debated whether the Queen shat like other people or wiped her own behind, the opportunity to see her bare chest was something of epic proportions.  What would they look like?  Do you think she shows them to Phillip her husband?  Our knowledge of a woman’s breasts was limited to stolen glances at bare-breasted African tribal women in National Geographic.

We were the first family in our neighborhood to own a TV.  So, on the day of the coronation, Motty, Hart, Bobby, Bernie and I assembled in my living room.  Fearful of missing that once-in-a-lifetime moment we remained glued to the TV and endured endless slow marches, solemn prayers and mind numbing speeches.  I recall my mother commenting on how surprised she was to see us boys so enthusiastic about the coronation.  Finally, the moment arrived.  The Archbishop, holding a vessel of holy oil, slowly approached the seated monarch.  Suddenly, without any warning, a grey placard was lowered in front of the camera blocking the entire scene.  There, instead of her majesty’s boobs, was the royal coat of arms adorned with its silly lion and stupid unicorn holding up a shield and jeweled crown.  We started hopping all about the room. “Get it away!” “Move!”  We were frantic.  As much as we willed it away that intruding piece of cardboard remained in place.  You cannot imagine our disappointment.  In a moment the ceremony was over.  The lion and unicorn were lifted away and there upon her throne sat the Queen, fully clothed and well anointed.

We did not stay to see the remainder of the ceremony.  We headed outside to play a game of war.  How fresh, innocent and unspoiled we were.  While the beauty and mystery of a woman’s body would always stay with us, our loyalty to the monarch, to the British Empire, to all that was British would never be quite the same.  Life moved on and so did we.


It seems so long ago that we were caught up in the excitement of the coronation as well as our plan to glimpse at the forbidden fruit.