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When is the Queen documentary on the BBC?

PUBLISHED: 07:49 14 January 2018 | UPDATED: 07:49 14 January 2018

The Queen's childhood memories of her father's coronation are revealed in the hour-long documentary. Picture: JULIAN CALDER/PA WIRE/BBC

The Queen's childhood memories of her father's coronation are revealed in the hour-long documentary. Picture: JULIAN CALDER/PA WIRE/BBC

The sacred oil used to anoint the Queen during her crowning is featured in a BBC documentary about her coronation.

The Queen speaks candidly and with humour about the experience of her own coronation, and the symbolic importance of artefacts associated with the sovereign. Picture: ITV ARCHIVE/PA WIREThe Queen speaks candidly and with humour about the experience of her own coronation, and the symbolic importance of artefacts associated with the sovereign. Picture: ITV ARCHIVE/PA WIRE

The special oil is shown by Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster, during the programme called The Coronation, which also chronicles the history of the crown jewels.

The Coronation is a one-hour documentary being screened tonight at 8pm on BBC One.

The Queen riding in the Gold State Coach after her Coronation. Picture: ITV ARCHIVE/PA WIREThe Queen riding in the Gold State Coach after her Coronation. Picture: ITV ARCHIVE/PA WIRE

The Queen’s childhood memories of her father’s coronation are revealed in the documentary, with an 11-year-old Princess Elizabeth writing she thought the arches of Westminster Abbey were covered in “a sort of haze of wonder” when King George VI was crowned in 1937.

Speaking about the oil, the Dean says in the programme: “It is kept very safe in the deanery, in a very hidden place in a little box here, which has in it a flask containing the oil from 1953.

St Edward's Crown. Picture: ATLANTIC PRODUCTIONS/PA WIRESt Edward's Crown. Picture: ATLANTIC PRODUCTIONS/PA WIRE

“And it is not just olive oil, it’s quite a complex mixture of different things.”

The ingredients of the anointing oil are known but the exact recipe is not, and Dr Hall adds: “The composition of the oil was founded upon that used in the 17th century.

The Sovereign's Sceptre. Picture: ATLANTIC PRODUCTIONS/PA WIREThe Sovereign's Sceptre. Picture: ATLANTIC PRODUCTIONS/PA WIRE

“Then you see what it consists of sesame seed and olive oil, perfume with roses, orange flowers, jasmine, musk, civet and ambergris.”

The anointing of a new monarch is so sacred that it takes place under a canopy, transforming the moment into a deeply personal experience between the sovereign and God.

The Coronation Spoon. Picture: ATLANTIC PRODUCTIONS/PA WIREThe Coronation Spoon. Picture: ATLANTIC PRODUCTIONS/PA WIRE

When the Queen was crowned on June 2 1953, live cameras filming the ceremony turned away during the symbolic moment.

The oil is stored in a bottle and traditionally held in great secrecy by the Dean of Westminster at the Abbey.

The Queen attending the Scripture Union's 150th anniversary service of celebration. Picture: VICTORIA JONES/PA WIREThe Queen attending the Scripture Union's 150th anniversary service of celebration. Picture: VICTORIA JONES/PA WIRE

During the ceremony it is kept in a solid gold flask called an ampulla - an artefact shaped like an eagle.

The Dean of Westminster plays an essential role in the lead-up to the coronation of a sovereign, and referring to the ceremony that saw the Queen crowned he says: “For six months, they closed the abbey. They laid a railway track down the centre of the abbey, bringing in tonnes and tonnes of wood and iron.

The Queen attending the  Scripture Union's 150th anniversary service of celebration at St Mary's Church in London. Picture: VICTORIA JONES/PA WIREThe Queen attending the Scripture Union's 150th anniversary service of celebration at St Mary's Church in London. Picture: VICTORIA JONES/PA WIRE

“I think there were 400 people in the choir and they were all up there. And there was an orchestra on the choir screen, 2,200 people can sit on the floor of the Abbey, 8,000 people were in here in 1953. They took a long time actually to get the whole thing ready.”

During the documentary the Queen shares her memories of attending her father’s coronation as an 11-year-old.

She says to the programme’s presenter Alastair Bruce: “I remember my father making me write down what I remembered about his coronation. It was very valuable. Have you never seen it?”

The Queen’s own account, written in a child’s exercise book, says: “I thought it all very very wonderful, and I expect the Abbey did too.

“The arches and beams at the top were covered with a sort of haze of wonder as Papa was crowned, at least I thought so.”

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