Space, Weddings and Funerals – on TV.

Here in Britain, we have just had a royal wedding. I’m sure you all heard about it so I won’t say any more on the subject. I was away on holiday in another country when it was on but even so, my friends and I were able to watch it together.

50s tv set    60s tv set

The following memories are of my very early TV experiences and are more about the excitement of viewing a live occasion than about the events themselves.

alexandra's wedding

I have very clear memories of some big state occasions (weddings and funerals) in the early 60s. In 1960, Princess Margaret the Queen’s sister, married Anthony Armstrong Jones. We knew it was being televised. My mum and her friends and their children really wanted to watch it – but none of us had TVs. Then my mum’s friend Miriam, who lived on a farm in our village, said that her Aunty Gladys had a TV. Gladys lived in the tiny town (which seemed big to us!) five miles away. TV had reached there before it stretched out to the remote surrounding villages. Anyway, this dear old lady said we could all watch it at her house. We children were enthralled with being able to watch TV – the content was less important to us. The mums really enjoyed watching their first televised state occasion. There was, of course, tea, cakes and biscuits.


In April 1961 the world saw the first human being, Yuri Gagarin, launched into space. There were still no homes in my village with a TV but – amidst huge excitement – my primary school headteacher decided to buy a TV for school use and to buy it in time for the whole school (all 28 of us!) to watch the launch live. Space travel and live TV at the same time – we were SO amazed and I’ve never forgotten it.

kents wedding

Also in 1961 was the marriage of the Duke and Duchess of Kent. I remember it very clearly. We also watched this at Aunty Gladys’ house and I remember thinking Katherine, the Duchess of Kent, was absolutely beautiful.

alexandra's wedding

In 1963, Princess Alexandra married Angus Ogilvy and, once again, the mums and children of the village wanted to watch it. By this time we had a TV of our own. Some friends in the village didn’t have a TV yet and came to us to watch it.

churchill    ch fun

Similarly, in 1965, the country mourned the death of Winston Churchill. Friends came to watch it at our house. These occasions were daytime events and at that time there was hardly any daytime TV. When you watched anything during daylight hours the curtains were always closed. The image transmitted was so weak that in the light of day it was very hard to see.

14 thoughts on “Space, Weddings and Funerals – on TV.

  1. Oh yes, sitting down to watch TV with the curtains closed, and usually a plate of biscuits or sweets… 🙂

    Curiously, I don’t remember having watched any of the ‘events’ you’ve mentioned, except for Yuri Gagarin. Possibly I just wasn’t interested at the time. I was thinking just the other day that Queen Elizabeth’s coronation happened in my lifetime, but when I was a tiny little child, so I wouldn’t have remembered it at that age.


  2. Hi there, I happened to stumble on your post on Princess magazine (Jan 2016) whilst searching for a photo of a mag cover (still haven’t found one BTW). I see you saved recipes from it. I remember making my first dish ever following the mag’s recipe called Sausage Surprise (I think that’s the name). Do you have a photo of the mag? And the recipe?!!!
    Hugs, x.


    • Hi Mary. Thanks for messaging. I have a Princess Cookery Gift Book from 1961 and inside the cover I have all the recipes I saved which were clipped out of the magazines. Sadly, no Sausage Surprise. There are two sausage recipes, one for sausage rolls and one for campfire sausages. Sorry I couldn’t provide the missing recipe! Meryl


  3. Now we watch TV without having to put down the curtains 😀😀Technology keeps getting better and a lot more complicated… Chuckling…. Thanks for sharing this.


  4. I love watching special events like the royal weddings etc. (for some reason the pictures you put on are not displaying…. maybe it’s not everyone’s computer though) just thought I’d mention it… Diane


  5. I got curious about the photos… whether it was my computer… and found these troubleshooting tips.. Don’t know whether or not it helps you at all but copied for you….
    If you are having problems uploading images then the most likely causes are:
    •The file size of the image is too large.
    •Your connection is slow.
    •There is a problem between your computer and the server. (You do not have a direct line here. Your connection will go through any number of hubs before it gets here and one problem along that line could cause a problem.)
    •Your storage space is full. You are provided 3GB of free space with your free account, but once full, additional media cannot be added. You can purchase the Space Upgrade in order to gain more space for your site.

    If your image files are large, you may want to optimize the images before you try uploading them.

    To make sure you have a good connection to the server, you can try clearing some of your temporary internet files. See the Browser Issues help page to learn how.


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