The National:

CHRISTMAS television can be hit or miss some years, and this year, it looks like Boxing Day will have a comedy showing for us all.

To unite the nation, the Royal Family has put together a gift that I'm sure will keep on giving throughout its 90-minute run – a behind-the-scenes documentary.

Apologies to those who were expecting them to donate their lavish wealth to help those most in need this Christmas instead.

In a new clip released by the BBC, which is taking the axe to Newsnight but finds time and budget for this, the King and Queen are seen joking and laughing during coronation dress rehearsals in behind-the-scenes footage.

The cringe radiates out of the screen, as Charles quips “I can fly”, holding up his lavish robes like wings during a practice run in Buckingham Palace, while Camilla says deadpan “here we are with all the lads” as her pages hold up the train of her dress.

Lads, lads, lads.

Charles is also shown laughing and shaking his head when the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby forgets the words to part of the liturgy – the prayers and actions of the coronation service in a second rehearsal clip filmed at Westminster Abbey.

Archbishop Welby, who led the coronation ceremony, confesses to the camera in an interview: “I have a memory that is probably about as good as our spaniel’s – in other words, zero.”


The documentary chronicles some of the major moments from the first year of the King’s reign, and includes an interview with the Princess Royal who gives her recollections of those first 12 months and how Charles and Camilla have adapted to their new roles.

In the Buckingham Palace clip, Charles and his wife are shown rehearsing their route through Buckingham Palace with their pages of honour.

When Major Oliver Plunket, the Queen’s equerry, says “Just be careful of Her Majesty’s dress”, Camilla asks her pages “You won’t tread on my dress?” and a little later as the schoolboys hold up her train she says “Here we are with all the lads”.

Everyone looks a bit slow, dazed and ... dusty. Had they been practicing all night and finally went delirious? No? Just the natural state of the British state? Ah, I see.

Well, I'll be watching Charles III: The Coronation Year for some much-needed laughs at the end of a year that welcomed Charles III.