The Queen jokes that crowns are 'quite important' but dangerous

By Hanna Fillingham

The Queen may enjoy the great privilege of wearing a crown, but the extravagant headpiece doesn't come without its downside. In the upcoming BBC documentary The Coronation (Jan. 14, BBC One), Her Majesty, 91, gave a rare insight into her life as head of state.

The Queen showed her sense of humour as she joked that looking down while wearing the Imperial State Crown – which weighs a staggering 2.8 lb. – could be fatal. Chatting with BBC royal commentator Alastair Bruce, she explained: "You can't look down to read the speech, you have to take the speech up. Because if you did [look down] your neck would break, it would fall off. So there are some disadvantages to crowns, but otherwise they're quite important things."

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Queen Elizabeth II with her crown in front of her
The Queen revealed that wearing a crown can be 'dangerous'

The documentary, which centres around the Queen's coronation in 1953 (June 2 will mark the 65th anniversary, takes a detailed look at the Imperial State Crown, made for George VI's coronation in 1937.

"Fortunately, my father and I have about the same sort of shaped head," Her Majesty observed. "But once you put it on, it stays. I mean, it just remains on.'"

The crown is set with 2,868 diamonds including 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds and 269 pearls, including four large pear-shaped pearls thought to have belonged to Elizabeth I.

Queen Elizabeth II takes a pose with Alastair Bruce at BBC
Her Majesty chatted about her coronation with BBC Royal Commentator Alastair Bruce

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The British monarch joked that her ancestor's pearls are "not very happy now'' and have been "hanging out for years,'' adding: "The trouble is that pearls are sort of live things, and they need warming.''

The Queen also recounted the day of her coronation, and how she was brought to a halt when her robes ran against the carpet pile in Westminster Abbey. "I remember one moment when I was going against the pile of the carpet and I couldn't move at all!"

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