Westminster Abbey has been the setting for every Coronation since 1066. It was also the third learning place of England (after Oxford and Cambridge). Before the Abbey was built, Coronations were carried out wherever was convenient, taking place in Bath, Oxford, and Canterbury. It is to be ruled by the monarch instead of a bishop.
Queen Elizabeth II was crowned on 2 June 1953 in Westminster Abbey. Her Majesty was the 39 Sovereign to be crowned at Westminster Abbey. She was only 25 years old at the moment of her ascension.
The Anointing Oil is the representation of the Holy Spirit. The recipe for the Anointing Oil contains oils of orange, roses, cinnamon, musk, and ambergris. In May 1941 a bomb hit the Deanery destroying the phial where it was kept safe, so a new batch was made.
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 fabulous Queen's Coronation dress, 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. Unforgettable.
The Queen succeeded to the Throne on the 6 February 1952 the day her father, King George VI passed away. She was in Kenya at the time and became the first Sovereign in over 200 years to accede while abroad.
The Queen's grandmother, Queen Mary, aged 81 at the time, was the first Queen to see a grandchild ascend to the throne. However, she died before the Coronation took place.
'The Wedding Ring of England', as the Coronation Ring is commonly known, was placed on The Queen's fourth finger of her right hand in accordance with tradition. Made in 1831, the ring has been worn at every coronation since then, except Queen Victoria's, whose fingers were too small.
Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was crowned on 2 June 1953 in Westminster Abbey. Her Majesty was the thirty-ninth Sovereign to be crowned there and the sixth Queen to have been crowned in her own right. The first was Queen Mary I, who was crowned on 1 October 1553.
Prince Charles was the first child to witness his mother's coronation as Sovereign. Princess Anne did not attend the ceremony as she was considered too young. They all waved to their people at the end.
The fabulous Coronation Bouquet was made up of white flowers from all corners of England and North Ireland. A replica of the Coronation Bouquet was presented to Queen Elizabeth II by the Worshipful Company of Gardeners at Buckingham Palace for the 60th anniversary of the Queen's coronation.
The BBC coverage of the Coronation was a breakthrough in the history of broadcasting. It was the first service to be televised and for most people, it was the first time they had watched an event on television. Millions of people around the world joined the broadcast
The Event brought worldwide attention. There were more than two thousand journalists and five hundred photographers from ninety two nations on the Coronation route. Press coverage unlike any other for the time.
Name the Horse
The Queen and her husband, The Duke of Edinburgh, were driven from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey in the Gold State Coach. It was pulled by eight grey gelding horses named: Cunningham, Tovey, Noah, Tedder, Eisenhower, Snow White, Tipperary, and McCreery.
The orb was (after the Crown, of course) the most important piece of regalia. The Orb is a globe of gold surrounded by a cross girdled by a band of diamonds, emeralds, rubies, sapphire and pearls with a large amethyst at the summit.
Everyone was there
The Service was also present. Even Buckingham Palace housemaids, chefs, and gardeners had their place in the event. They gathered inside the Grand Hall at Buckingham Palace to see The Queen leave for Westminster Abbey.
A total of 8,251 guests attended The Queen's Coronation: Members of the Court, clerical, governmental, and parliamentary officials from around the Commonwealth of Nations moved through the streets of London in procession, reaching Westminster Abbey, where the ceremony took place.
Built in a record time. One of the more notable installations for the Coronation was the annex at the west end of Westminster Abbey. It was created to add a necessary area so the processions could form and disperse unseen by the crowds.
The Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation service began at 11.15am and it was fully broadcasted by BBC to millions of viewers around the world. It lasted almost three hours. Later. Her Royal Majesty and family returned to Buckingham Palace.
The Queen was crowned in St Edward's Chair, made in 1300 for Edward I and used at every Coronation since that time. You can actually see it as it is permanently kept in Westminster Abbey.
The St. Edward's Crown, was made in 1661 for Edward the Confessor. When he was made a saint, objects connected with his reign became holy relics., kept in Westminster Abbey. It was placed on the head of The Queen during the Coronation service.
The Coronation service used for Queen Elizabeth II is the same one used for King Edgar at Bath in 973. The original 14th-century order of service, written in Latin, was used until the Coronation of Elizabeth I, considered by many to be the greatest monarch in English history.
The Man in Charge
The incumbent Earl Marshal is responsible for organizing the Coronation. Since 1386 the position has been undertaken by The Duke of Norfolk. The 16th Duke of Norfolk was Bernard Fitzalan-Howard, a British peer and politician.
The Duke of Edinburgh
The Duke of Edinburgh wore a full-dress Naval uniform for the journey to and from the Abbey. But while in the Abbey, he wore a coronet and his Duke's robe over his uniform as traditional protocol requested.
Though now is exhibited at the Buckingham Palace, since the Coronation, The Queen has worn the Coronation dress six times including the Opening of Parliament in New Zealand and Australia in 1954.
The Sovereign's procession
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. It went all the way from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey.
27 million people in the UK (out of the 36 million population) watched the ceremony on television A massive record, not to mention 11 million who listened on the broadcast on the radio.
A very special correspondent
Among the many foreign journalists was Jacqueline Bouvier (later the First Lady of the United States of America, Jackie Kennedy), who was working for the Washington Times-Herald at the time. She would later visit Queen Elizabeth II with her husband on official duty.
The official return route was designed so that the procession could be seen by as many people in London as possible. Everything worked perfectly as the 7.2 km route took the 16,000 participants the scheduled two hours to complete.
A cute move
Prince Charles was just four years old when his mother became Her Royal Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. In a very nice act, he received a special hand-painted children's invitation to his mother's Coronation.
Many people camped in The Mall to catch a glimpse of the royal procession, including a family who had sailed all the way from Australia just to be there for the occasion. Thousands more were throwing street parties everywhere.
On the way back to Buckingham Palace, after the Ceremony, The Queen wore the newly-made Purple Robe of Estate. Its border of wheat ears and olive branches took a total of 3,500 hours to complete by seamstresses from the Royal School of Needlework.
Imperial State Crown
Yet another Crown was involved, worn by The Queen during her return to Buckingham Palace, The Imperial State Crown, contained four pearls traditionally believed to have been Queen Elizabeth I's earrings.
129 nations and territories were officially represented at the Coronation service. Both in the procession as in the Ceremony itself. Territories then being part of England's Commonwealth plus representatives of nations all over the world.
Polish expressionist painter Feliks Topolski was commissioned as The official artist for the Coronation. He produced a permanent record of the occasion in the Lower Corridor of Buckingham Palace. Still in display.
Then Archbishop of Canterbury, Geoffrey Fisher, conducted the service, a duty which has been undertaken since the Conquest in 1066. For the first time in 1953, a representative of another Church, the Moderator of the Church of Scotland, also took part.
Archbishop of Canterbury
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Geoffrey Fisher, had previously presided then Princess Elizabeth´s Wedding Ceremony with Philip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh on 20 November 1947 also taking place at Westminster Abbey.
Step by step
The Service consisted of six very precise stages: the recognition, the oath, the anointing, the investiture (which includes the crowning), the enthronement and the homage. Some of them couldn´t be broadcasted entirely as they were not to be seen by members outside the holy rituals.
In 1954 artist Herbert James Gunn painted a State Portrait of The Queen Elizabeth II in her Coronation outfit. The painting belongs to The Royal Collection which is the art collection of the British Royal Family and the largest private art collection in the world.
Many members of the Royal Family and clergies in the Abbey witnessed their fourth Coronation. Princess Marie Louise (Queen Victoria's granddaughter) had also seen the Coronations of King Edward VII, King George V, and King George VI.
When the Royal Family took the balcony of Buckingham Palace, The Queen was still wearing the Imperial State Crown and the Royal Robes to greet the cheering crowds. Her Majesty appeared again on the balcony at 9.45 pm to turn on the 'lights of London'.
Lights of London
As mentioned before, The Queen appeared with her family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace at 9.45 pm to turn on the 'lights of London'. A special set of lighting was build all over London to celebrate the Coronation.
Lights of London II
A beautiful set of lights cascaded down the Mall, lighting the huge cipher on Admiralty Arch and the great fountains in Trafalgar Square. The lighting settings include the National Gallery to the Tower of London.
Almost 30,000 men took part in the procession. 3,600 from the Royal Navy, 16,100 from the Army and 7,000 from the RAF, 2,000 from the Commonwealth and 500 from the 'Colonies'.
As the 6,700 reserve and administrative troops were not enough, 1,000 officers and men of the Royal military police were brought in to assist the Metropolitan police. Another 7,000 police were drawn from 75 provincial forces.
A nice touch
Even though during the procession it was raining. Queen Salote of Tonga refused to raise the roof of her carriage for protection. That gesture won the hearts of the waiting crowds who cheered while she passed by.
'Mount Everest Expedition'
When mountaineers Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay had made it to the summit of Mount Everest. The Queen presented the 14 members of the expedition with special edition Coronation medals.
Four twin-spanned arches of tubular steel with lighting settings were built at The Mall. The arches were lifted into place by giant mobile cranes. Along with several lines of standards mounted with golden crowns on their scarlet banners bearing the Royal Monogram.
Several official photographs were taken in Buckingham Palace after the Coronation, but the most memorable are those taken by talented photographer Cecil Beaton. He posed The Queen in front of a backdrop depicting Henry VII's Chapel in Westminster Abbey.
A new recipe of chicken was invented for the foreign guests who were to be entertained after the Coronation. Constance Spry, a florist, won the approval of the Minister of Works and her recipe has since been known as Coronation Chicken.