Travelling through London during the coronation this weekend? You might encounter a familiar voice.
On the London Underground, the famous “Mind the gap” notice will have a distinctly regal tone this weekend.
King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla have recorded their own version of the announcement that will play on the capital’s tube across the long weekend.
The message will be heard on all London Underground stations, as well as every rail station across the UK.
“My wife and I wish you and your families a wonderful coronation weekend,” Charles begins, before Camilla adds, “Wherever you are travelling, we hope you have a safe and pleasant journey.”
Finally, Charles gives a toot of the phrase synonymous with the world’s oldest underground rail system: “And remember, please mind the gap.”
The message was recorded earlier this year at Highgrove House, the personal residence of the new top royals.
“We are honoured to support the celebrations with a special station announcement across our network from Their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla,” said London’s Transport Commissioner Andy Lord.
Another interesting announcement
It’s not the first time the London Underground has put on an exceptional announcement.
My favourite story of the Tube comes from Embankment Station.
Embankment Station is a central stop on the northern side of the Thames and is served by four different Tube lines. One day in 2012, Dr Margaret McCollum approached staff and asked what had happened to the voice of the “mind the gap” announcement.
Staff reassured her it was still there, but had been replaced by a new digitised system of announcements.
This wasn’t a satisfying answer to Margaret though. She was distraught because they’d replaced the previous voice making the announcement: her husband’s.
Oswald Laurence, Margaret’s husband, had recorded the Northern Line’s announcements in the 70s. He’d died in 2007 and Margaret had spent the past five years being comforted by the sound of her late partner on her way to work. Occasionally she’d sit at the platform just to listen a bit longer.
Devastated by the loss of his voice, she asked Transport for London to bring him Oswald back, and amazingly, they did.
To this day, if you take a train to Embankment, you will hear Oswald’s voice making his famous announcement.