Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth

The maids of honour at Britain's Queen Elizabeth's Coronation are to hold a reunion.

The women's identities remained a secret until the big day on June 2 1953, when they followed the then princess down the aisle in Westminster Abbey to be crowned, and the five remaining have got together 60 years later to recall their memories for BBC Radio 4 programme 'The Reunion' on Sunday (21.04.13).

Lady Rosemary Muir, Lady Anne Glenconner, Lady Moyra Campbell, Lady Mary Russell, Lady Jane Rayne and Baroness Willoughby de Eresby - who is now deceased - were aged between 19 and 23 at the time and were given the responsibility of lifting, unfolding and carrying Elizabeth's 21 ft train through the abbey.

With all the media attention focused on the mystery girls, Lady Glenconner believes they were the "Spice Girls" of their time and Lady Anne, who was 20 at the time, reveals how the Archbishop of Canterbury offered them a sneaky sip of brandy from his hip flash during the recess of the three-hour ceremony.

Before the life-changing event, Elizabeth turned and said to her maids of honour: "Ready girls?", while a four-year-old Prince Charles asked them to smell his hair after being allowed to use father Prince Philip's special hair lotion.

While it was a one-off experience for them, Lady Russell - the youngest of the six - was too busy focusing on the weight of Elizabeth's train, made of heavy embroidered velvet with a fur trim.

She mused: "It was an incredible moment, but all I could think about was how heavy the embroidery felt."

The full broadcast can be heard on Sunday at 11.15am on BBC Radio 4.