The veteran broadcaster David Dimbleby has commentated on the BBC’s coverage of the Queen’s committal at Windsor Castle, in an echo of his father from 70 years ago.
As the procession gradually made the mile-long journey to St George’s Chapel, Dimbleby calmly and clearly described for BBC viewers the “extraordinary scenes” that unfolded at Windsor over the past few days, the royal standard that covered the Queen’s coffin and the understandable restlessness of the horses moving at the slow place.
In doing so, Dimbleby found himself following in the footsteps of his father, Richard Dimbleby, who provided commentary for the Queen’s coronation in 1953, and the funeral of her father, George VI, in 1952.
Richard Dimbleby was known for the precision and poetry of the descriptions he gave his radio audience: “Never safer, better guarded, lay a sleeping king than this, with a golden candlelight to warm his resting place, and the muffled footsteps of his devoted subjects to keep him company,” he said in February 1952, when the coffin of George VI lay in state. He was the BBC’s lead commentator on other funerals including those of Winston Churchill, the UK’s last state funeral, and John F Kennedy. He died in 1965.
Many took to Twitter to praise the BBC for the decision to bring Dimbleby out of retirement for the Queen’s funeral. “Something so reassuring about hearing David Dimbleby on the BBC,” wrote Jono Read, who works for the BBC.
The BBC Radio 2 presenter Bob Harris tweeted that he still remembered Richard Dimbleby’s “calm and peerless description of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953”.
“So appropriate that David Dimbleby is describing the procession to Windsor Castle,” he tweeted. Dimbleby was the host of BBC’s Question Time for almost 25 years. He left the BBC in 2018.