MONARCHS have faced their fair share of mishaps, setbacks and scandals at historic British coronations.

Queen Victoria was left in agony when the coronation ring was squeezed onto her wrong finger by mistake, while Edward VII had to postpone his ceremony with just days to go when he fell dangerously ill.

The Northern Echo: Victoria had a ring jammed on the wrong finger during her coronation

Victoria had a ring jammed on the wrong finger during her coronation

Even William the Conqueror’s Christmas Day coronation in 1066 sparked rioting amid fears that an assassination attempt was under way. French-speaking Norman soldiers waiting outside thought the shouts of approval inside were part of a bid to kill the king, and they began setting fire to houses around Westminster Abbey. Smoke filled the church, the congregation fled and riots broke out. William and the officiating clergy still managed to complete the service despite the mayhem.

There were also riots in response to George I’s coronation more than 300 years ago, with protesters showing their displeasure in 20 towns across the south and west of England. It was 1714 and the rioters objected to having the German-born monarch as the new sovereign.

Under the terms of the Act of Settlement 1701, Queen Anne, who had no surviving children, had to be succeeded by a Protestant.

Her uncharismatic German second cousin George, who was frequently absent in his beloved native Hanover, became king despite there being more than 50 Roman Catholic relatives with stronger claims to the throne. A Jacobean rebellion was also started in Scotland by supporters of the Catholic James Stuart.

Spectators at George I’s coronation shouted “out with the foreigner”, and one protester was pulled from the crowd for waving a turnip on a stick – an insult suggesting the king was a country bumpkin.

At George III’s coronation in 1761 there was chaos when horse-drawn carriages crashed into one another in the struggle to get to the abbey.

Members of the congregation sitting in a box in the church began to eat a meal during the sermon after finding they could not hear what was being said, and the clattering of their knives, forks, plates and glasses echoed around, causing bursts of laughter among the guests.

The Northern Echo: THe coronation of King George IV caused a public outcry due to the expense. Photo: Getty Images

Coronation of King George IV with crowds and horses at Westminster Abbey, London, on July 19, 1821. The coronation was the most extravagant ever staged 

George IV’s coronation was a great theatrical spectacle. The former Prince Regent, known for his extravagance, spent vast sums of money on it in 1821 – £238,000 – or £20.9m in today’s money.

It had been delayed for almost a year after his estranged wife, Caroline of Brunswick, returned from Europe to claim her right as Queen Consort.

George IV had needed a wife after his father refused to help settle his mounting debts unless he married his cousin Caroline, but the two despised each other and they separated after having their only child, Princess Charlotte.

On the day of his coronation, George IV refused to allow Caroline into the abbey and ordered those guarding the church to prevent her from entering. She was forced to go round to every door demanding admission. She finally admitted defeat and left, and went on to die three weeks later.

At his grand coronation banquet in Westminster Hall, the pans collecting the wax on the 28 huge chandeliers hanging from the ceiling were not large enough, so hot wax began dripping down onto the guests below, ruining their clothes and make up.

George IV’s successor, William IV, had to be persuaded to have a coronation at all in 1831 and spent so little money on it that it became known as 'the Penny Coronation'. It did establish much of the format that remains for British coronations today, with a procession in the Gold State Coach to the abbey, but he refused to have a coronation banquet as he considered it too expensive.

The Northern Echo: The Coronation of Queen Victoria in Westminster Abbey, on June 28, 1838, by Sir George Hayter. The Queen labelled the Bishop of Durham "remarkably maladroit" because he didn't know what was going on

The Coronation of Queen Victoria in 1838

Queen Victoria’s coronation festivities in 1838 were a much grander affair with three state balls, two court receptions, a drawing room and state concert, and a public procession to the abbey.

Parliament spent £69,000 (£6.2min today’s money) on the 19-year-old’s celebrations, compared to William IV’s £43,000 (£3.6m today), but the service itself was under-rehearsed, lasted five hours, and many of the clergy involved had no idea what they were meant to be doing.

During the ceremony one elderly peer caught his foot on his robe on his way to pay homage to the queen and rolled down the bottom of the steps in front of the throne. He was greeted with loud cheers when he managed to scramble to his feet.

There were further mishaps when the Archbishop of Canterbury shoved the ruby coronation ring onto Victoria’s fourth finger causing her great pain. It had been made to fit her fifth.

He also tried to hand her the orb after she had already been presented with it and completed that part of the ceremony.

At one point, a bishop told the queen the service was over when it was still ongoing, and she had to be brought back from St Edward’s Chapel, where she had retired, to continue the proceedings.

Victoria’s son Edward VII faced a major upset with his coronation plans in 1902. His ceremony was set for June and guests were invited from all over the world.

But the King suffered appendicitis and developed peritonitis a few days beforehand, and had to have an operation immediately for fear he would die. The king was hugely reluctant to postpone his coronation but finally relented, and August 9 was chosen as the new date, by which time he was in better health.

But during his service, the ageing and almost blind Archbishop of Canterbury, who had the prayers printed in large letters on card, mis-read some of the words and at the moment of crowning – after he appeared to drop the crown – placed it on the king’s head the wrong way round.