In his new book Elizabeth, 50 years with the royal couple, exclusive confidences which has just been translated into French, the author and former British MP Gyles Brandreth, close to the royal family, recounts the life of Queen Elizabeth II. He is also one of the guests who will be at Westminster Abbey on May 6, during the coronation of Charles III.

We hope it won’t rain like it did in 1953, when Queen Elizabeth II was crowned. I was 5 years old, and I was on my father’s shoulders in the crowd, and I still remember the rain. This coronation is a great first for many people in our country, the first in 70 years. All agree that there will be no extravagance, and that it will be a shorter ceremony combining tradition and modernity.

All kings and queens have been crowned since 1066 at Westminster Abbey. The first coronation was William the Conqueror on December 25, 1066. King Charles III will be the 40th monarch to be crowned there. In terms of tradition, the king and queen consort will use the Golden Coach of State, the same one used on June 2, 1953. Besides, Queen Elizabeth II told me that this coach was not really not comfortable. It has no shock absorbers, the ride shouldn’t be too long!

The Queen has always described Prince Philip as her strength and support. This is exactly what Camilla is to Charles. She is his ally, his best friend, and he feels free with her. They share the same sense of humor, love of literature, theater and gardening. I watched them, at Highgrove House, at Clarence House, Charles always brings up his beloved wife. She looks kindly on him. I met Camilla in the 1960s when we were teenagers, and she will be a great queen. I think people have accepted her, she is devoted, generous, discreet. She will be the least stuffy queen in history. King Charles III, like many families, is in his second marriage. This couple is the reflection of a certain modernity, it is a blended family, like there are many others.

Yes, I have kept a diary since I was young and when you meet the queen, you remember it. What I have observed over the years is that as soon as the queen arrives somewhere, the atmosphere changes. People were getting nervous, no one had a normal behavior with her. Margaret Thatcher, at her first audience with the Queen, was very anxious. When she did her curtsey, she did it so steeply and too low to the ground that she couldn’t get up, we had to help her! It’s always strange to meet her and people are not normal…!

What is remarkable is that for 70 years, she has always had a sense of duty and great consistency. She has always taken great care of others. I see how much she was respected and loved for her kindness, her benevolence. What surprises people is how funny she was, she had a great sense of humor. She loved to perform in plays. When she was a teenager, it was a real pleasure for her. Moreover, we saw her in the sketch with the Paddington bear, she took pleasure in it, or even with James Bond, on the occasion of the London Olympics in 2012.

The official cause of her death is old age, but I had heard that she had myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow, which would explain her fatigue and weight loss during the last year of her life. life.

Yes, because King Charles III will not reign for 70 years… I think we really appreciate Prince William and Kate Middleton. Harry will be present at the coronation, maybe it will be a whirlwind visit, maybe there will be a reconciliation. Prince Philip often said that the British press made the royal family into a big soap opera. The coronation is a state event that will bring together dignitaries from around the world, presidents, prime ministers, royal families, and let’s not forget that the king is the head of state. I think a grand event like that, a coronation, we do better than anyone here in England.

Yes ! The next one will be sooner, but you know, the royals are long-lived, Queen Elizabeth, 96, the Duke of Edinburgh, 99, the Queen Mother, 101, so this reign can last quite a few time. Queen Elizabeth II’s father, King George VI, is an exception, he died at 56, but he smoked too much.

Born in 1948, the same year as Charles III, Gyles Brandreth was a writer and former British Conservative MP from 1992 to 1997. He always wears very original sweaters that he creates himself!

He met Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, in the 1970s, and became a friend, hence his many encounters with the Queen over the years, as well as with Charles and Camilla, to whom he was close.

He is the author of numerous books, including Charles and Camilla, Philip: the Final Portrait and Philip and Elizabeth: Portrait of a Royal Marriage and is also the author of a series of books on Oscar Wilde and scrabble.