A day that defined history. The late Queen Elizabeth II’s royal coronation marked the beginning of her journey to become the longest-reigning British monarch.
Following the death of her father, King George VI, in February 1952, a 25-year-old Elizabeth took over the throne, becoming the first female monarch since her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria, who died at the age of 81 in 1901. However, Elizabeth was never supposed to become queen — the royal lineage changed in 1936 when her uncle King Edward VIII abdicated the throne and passed the title on to his brother, putting Elizabeth next in line.
Already married to her husband, Prince Philip, and mother to King Charles III and Princess Anne, Elizabeth was crowned on June 2, 1953, at Westminster Abbey in London, the same place she and Phillip — who passed away at the age of 99 in April 2021 — tied the knot in November 1947. (She and the late Duke of Edinburgh also shared sons Prince Andrew and Prince Edward.)
Her ceremony marked the first televised coronation in history and was watched by millions of viewers around the world. Among the over 8,000 guests in attendance were Elizabeth’s mother, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, her sister, Princess Margaret, and then-British prime minister, Winston Churchill.
The monarch wore the State Diadem tiara on her way to the coronation, at which she was crowned with the St Edwards Crown. Departing the ceremony, she donned the Imperial State Crown, which features gemstones such as diamonds, rubies, sapphires and pearls. Her dress was designed by Sir Norman Hartnell, and her coronation bouquet, made by Worshipful Company of Gardeners, was comprised of orchids, lilies-of-the-valley, stephanotis and carnations.
Elizabeth made a televised address to the public on the evening of her crowning. “Throughout this memorable day I have been uplifted and sustained by the knowledge that your thoughts and prayers were with me,” she said at the time. “I have been aware all the time that my peoples, spread far and wide throughout every continent and ocean in the world, were united to support me in the task to which I have now been dedicated with such solemnity.”
She concluded her message: “As this day draws to its close, I know that my abiding memory of it will be, not only the solemnity and beauty of the ceremony, but the inspiration of your loyalty and affection. I thank you all from a full heart. God bless you all.”
After 70 years on the throne, Elizabeth passed away at the age of 96 in September 2022. Two days later, Charles was officially declared King of England during an ascension ceremony at St. James’ Palace in London. Later that month, the queen was laid to rest at St George’s Chapel. atWindsor Castle. Charles’ coronation is set to take place in May 2023.
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Scroll down to relive the biggest moments from Elizabeth’s historic coronation: