Coronation Maid of Honour recalls day the world was watching as she walked behind the Queen

Lady Jane Rayne Lacey was one of six Maids of Honour at the Queen's Coronation. Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

For many people, memories of the Queen's Coronation came via a television screen.

However, one young woman with connections to our region had the opportunity to play a key role on 2 June 1953.

Lady Jane Rayne Lacey - whose family seat was at Wynyard Hall near Billingham - was one of six Maids of Honour, chosen to accompany the Queen throughout.

Lady Jane Rayne Lacey witnessed the Queen's Coronation first hand. Credit: British Pathé

It was a role that put her in the international spotlight.

She told ITV News Tyne Tees: "I was sort of caught up in the idea of having these wonderful dresses made and it was all so grand.

"We didn't have at all a grand life, and it wasn't until much later when I actually got to the abbey that I suddenly realised that everyone - the world - would be watching."

She added: "The enormity of it just hit me as I stepped into the abbey and got into position.

"I suddenly realised there's no turning back now and then the Queen turned round with one of her dazzling smiles, she said 'Are you ready girls?' [There was] a chorus of 'yes', shaky voices and on we went."

The young aristocrat was paired with a fellow maid of honour to walk immediately behind the Queen. It was the perfect place to observe the young monarch.

"As I looked at her, this calm, serene figure, I thought  - 'Goodness, she's only about seven years older than me. How is she going to manage with this terrific responsibility?' and I was so impressed.

"I thought, 'Well, she obviously is somebody very special, a special person to be able to cope with that sort of thing'.

"She never looked afraid or nervous, or anxious or anything and I felt, well, she'll make a great Queen."

The six maids of honour when gifted brooches by the new Queen. Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

As well having her memories, Lady Jane Rayne Lacey was given a brooch by the Queen as a reminder of her role on Coronation day.

In spite of the passage of time, her experiences on that historic day have been as important to her in later life as in 1953.

She said: "The Coronation to me was not only the most defining moment in my life but also, I think, the happiest day  - apart from my weddings - it was the happiest because it was the proudest. I was so proud to be taking part in it.

"It was just something you never forget."

The remarkable life of the Queen remembered in our latest episode of What You Need To Know