Queen Elizabeth 2 of Great Britain reached the milestone of being the longest reigning British monarch on 9 September this year. This reminded me that when my grandmother, Rita Broli, was a young woman living in South Africa this country was part of the Commonwealth. So when on 2 June 1953 Queen Elizabeth 2 was crowned Queen of Great Britain she was in fact also crowned Queen of the Commonwealth Nations including South Africa.
To commemorate the coronation Rita worked a tea cloth edged in lace.
The cloth had a cross stitch design printed on it and she covered the crosses with cross stitch using 2 or 3 strands of stranded cotton. The design is beautifully majestic made up of symbols of the British monarchy and Queen Elizabeth 2 – a rampant lion, Tudor rose and of course a crown – joined together with scrolls.
Rita always admired Queen Elizabeth. I can imagine her spending many hours feverishly working on this cloth for the coronation which is now a beautiful treasured reminder of a time in our history. I inherited the cloth from Rita but unfortunately as cigarette smoking was fashionable for ladies during her time it had some unsightly nicotine stains on it, which meant that I couldn’t use it so I did the unthinkable I put it through the washing machine using a modern detergent and, as per the classic detergent advertisement, the stains disappeared! However there was a slight, very slight, only noticeable to me but noticeable change to the linen. It was a trade off but I think worth it because now I can display and use this beautiful cloth that my grandmother worked that tells something of our heritage and history on Heritage Day. It is such a beautiful cloth that I use it on many special occasions.