Although Williamson, GA is home for Carol Austin now, watching the Coronation of Prince Charles helped her and other family members renew their connections to the traditions and culture of their homeland, England. Carol lives in Brown Station subdivision and flew a large banner in honor of Prince Charles’ coronation in the weeks leading up to the big event. She got an early start on the big day, waking up for the coverage which started around 5 a.m.
“It was a comforting continuity of the royal family. I was born just before the late queen’s coronation and in her grandmother’s hospital so for us, it represents a continuation of the traditions of royalty and monarchy that have been ongoing since 1066 and before. I’m so happy to see it and God Save the King,” she said. “I most looked forward to the coronation itself and the pomp and circumstance that leads up to the king entering Westminster Abbey. The crowds were so huge, it was more enjoyable watching from a distance in the company of your own home with your own family.”
She and her sister Vicki Wix were born in the Queen Mary’s Maternity Home and since she was born around Christmas, hence her name, Carol’s mother was given a hand-sewn broach from Queen Mary for all the mothers who couldn’t make it home to exchange gifts. Maureen Miles was born during the war and was born in one of the Queen Mary’s Ladies In Waiting homes since they had to be evacuated out of London.
Vicki and her husband were police officers in London during Princess Di’s wedding and the entire family, including eighth grader Keagan Miller, keep up with the affairs of the royal family. The sisters’ granddad owned a pub called King’s Head in a little village called Biggleswade. Carol’s niece Christine Miller, her husband Ben Miller and their daughter Keagan and son Colton also live in Williamson.
The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II was the same year as Carol was born.
“When the queen would have a Golden Jubilee, I would have one as well because I was born the year she became the queen,” said Carol. “My dad was in the U.S. Air Force and he was stationed in London for nine years during and after the second World War. That’s where he met my mother and he brought her home to College Park where he was originally from and she took one look at the place and said ‘In England, water comes from a tap and milk comes from a bottle,’ because his home had a cow out front and a pump for the well water. So we were born in England and stayed with our grandparents for a few years,” said Carol.
Her mom and sisters moved back to England in the late 1970s and her dad bought a house in a village south of London called Rudgwick but the cost of living was so much that they moved back to College Park where Carol worked for the USO at the Atlanta Airport, meeting and helping the families of fallen military heroes from Iraq and Afghanistan. She loved her job but after battling a brain tumor, she retired after 37 years. Carol enjoys attending St. George’s Episcopal Church and some of her mother’s ashes will be scattered there.
“I feel like I’m back in England when I’m in the church and the people are just wonderful. I feel like I’ve found a home there as well as here in Williamson,” she said.
She purchased extra snacks in preparation for the Coronation “a store called Taste of Britain and it’s like a store just teleported over here from London, fully stocked!” She planned to serve cucumber sandwiches and other finger foods such as Cadbury’s chocolate fingers. She said some of the favorite snacks to remind them of England are Wheetabix (banana flavored biscuits[cookies]), Spotted Dick (a traditional steamed pudding made with dried fruit), Iced Gems (tiny cookies with icing, mince meat (finely chopped fruits), Maltesers (candy like Whoppers) and Twiglets (wheat snack like pretzels), Bakewell Tarts (fruit pastries), Battenburg Cake (yellow and pink checkerboard cake) and of course the most sought-after tea, PG Tips. In addition to the reminders of home, she and family are proud that the Coronation represents England’s continued influence in the world.
“England has many commonwealths that they still support and they still have a huge influence in the world politically, even though it’s a tiny island that is smaller than the state of Georgia,” she said. “We are proud to be part of that heritage.”