The Queen’s coronation in pictures

We take a look back at Queen Elizabeth II's coronation, including the people involved, the outfits and Westminster Abbey

the Queen and Prince Phillip on balcony

by Stephanie Spencer |
Updated on

The coronation of the late Queen Elizabeth II was the ceremony in which the newly ascended monarch, Elizabeth II, was crowned Queen of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Ceylon, and Pakistan, as well as taking on the role of Head of the Commonwealth.

When was Queen Elizabeth II coronated?

The Queen's coronation day was held at Westminster Abbey on June 2 1953.

The Queen was 25 when she took the throne on February 6 1952, upon the death of her father King George VI, but to allow for a period of natural mourning she was only crowned on June 2 1953.

On her way to the coronation, Her Majesty wore the George IV State Diadem - the crown depicted on stamps. Made in 1820, the Diadem features roses, shamrocks and thistles with 1,333 diamonds and 169 pearls.

The Diamond Diadem

The coronation of June 1953 was the first ever to be televised. The BBC coverage was watched by 27 million people in the UK alone and millions more audiences around the world, who crowded around their television sets for a glance of the Queen. For most people, it was the first time they had watched an event on television.

the Queen's entourage at her coronation

Many important people from around the world attend the monarch's coronation. The Sovereign's procession was made up of 250 people including Church leaders, Commonwealth Prime Ministers, members of the Royal Household, civil and military leaders and the Yeoman of the Guard.

The coronation ceremony itself had six parts: the recognition, the oath, the anointing, the investiture (which includes the crowning), the enthronement and the homage.

The Archbishop of Canterbury conducted the service, which was organised by the Earl Marshal, the Duke of Norfolk.

St Edwards Crown
©JACK HILL/AFP via Getty Images

The Queen was crowned with St Edward's Crown (pictured above), the crown used in all coronations for English and later British monarchs. It is one of the senior Crown Jewels of Britain.

The late monarch was crowned in St Edward's Chair, made in 1300 for Edward I and used at every coronation since that time. It is permanently kept in Westminster Abbey.

Westminster Abbey

Coronations have been held at Westminster Abbey for 900 years. Westminster Abbey was closed for four months due to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, and reopened in July 2020. This was the longest period of time it has been closed to visitors since preparations for the Queen's coronation in 1953.

the maids of honour

The Queen's Coronation dress, designed by British Fashion designer Norman Hartnell, was made of white satin and embroidered with the emblems of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth in gold and silver thread.

The Queen's robes were held by her coronation Maids of Honour: Lady Rosemary Muir, Lady Anne Glenconner, Lady Moyra Campbell, Lady Mary Russell, Lady Jane Rayne and Baroness Willoughby de Eresby.

They were extremely famous at the time, later referring to themselves as the Spice Girls of the 1950s.

Since the Coronation, the Queen wore the dress six times including the Opening of Parliament in New Zealand and Australia in 1954.

inside Westminster Abbey

The Royal family leaving Westminster Abbey, following the 60th anniversary service to mark the coronation in 2013.

gold state coach

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, in the Gold State Coach, pass cheering crowds on the Queen Victoria Memorial, outside Buckingham Palace.

gold state coach close up

A close up of the Queen leaving her coronation - she later admitted that she very much disliked the golden carriage, describing riding in it as 'horrible' and extremely uncomfortable.

the queen and prince Phillip

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip pictured after her coronation, on the balcony at Buckingham Palace.

Following her coronation, the Queen made a broadcast in the evening, reflecting on the events of the day, thanking the public for their support and promising to serve the nation, something she upheld for the rest of her life on the throne. A section from her speech is as follows:

"Throughout this memorable day I have been uplifted and sustained by the knowledge that your thoughts and prayers were with me. 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...

"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."

The Coronation of King Charles III will be celebrated in May 2023.

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