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A man who served as a Grenadier Guard at Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation 70 years ago is dishing out advice for the guards who will be serving at King Charles III’s coronation on Saturday, May 6.
Roy Blake, 89, was in the Grenadier Guards for three years after he turned 18 in 1952, news agency SWNS reported.
“The Grenadier Guards are one of the most senior infantry regiments in the British Army,” according to the British Army’s website.
They are known for wearing a uniform of scarlet tunic and tall bearskin hat.
In addition to “providing excellence, symmetry and precision while carrying out ceremonial duties in London and at Windsor Castle,” the Grenadier Guards “specialize in Light Role Infantry operations,” the British Army’s site also says.
After much training as a Grenadier Guard, Blake stood for hours on the streets of London, guarding the mall outside St. James Park during Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953, said SWNS.
The weather that day was not great, Blake recounted to SWNS — but still, he relished the experience.
“Apart from the fact [that] it rained for nine hours and we got completely wet … it was fantastic,” he said.
In particular, Blake said that “the public really made the atmosphere at the Queen’s coronation.”
King Charles III has “big shoes to fill.”
He added, “It was almost hysterical in some ways because they really made a festival of it.”
Blake offered simple but classic advice to the guards who will be protecting King Charles III at his coronation ceremony.
“Make sure you’ve had a good breakfast,” he said.
While Blake spent the last coronation working in the rain, for the upcoming coronation on Saturday he does not need to worry about the weather.
He’ll be watching the event from the cinema room at his care home, he told SWNS.
“I think it will be a different kind of ceremony altogether,” he told SWNS.
“I’m not too excited because I’ve been there, done that, got the T-shirt.”
He also remarked that, to him, “it doesn’t seem long since the Queen’s coronation.”
He added, “I was a young man then — but at least this time I will be dry and warm.”
Blake remembered the late Queen Elizabeth II as “a great Queen, and an example to us all.”
“She did this country proud for 70 years and saw us through some hard times, but we are all stronger for it,” he said.
“I think King Charles III will be a good monarch, though he does have big shoes to fill,” he said.