June 2, 1953 – Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II

On this day in history, 27-year-old Queen Elizabeth II was formally crowned monarch of the United Kingdom in Westminster Abbey. Her father, King George VI, had died sixteen months earlier but the coronation was delayed for more than a year because of the tradition that such a festival was inappropriate during the period of mourning that followed the death of the preceding sovereign. Between the time of her proclamation as the new monarch and her coronation, she did begin to carry out routine duties of the sovereign.

Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret Rose at the coronation of their father King George VI

In 1947, Elizabeth had married her distant cousin, Philip Mountbatten, a former prince of Greece and Denmark who renounced his titles in order to marry Elizabeth. He was made duke of Edinburgh on the eve of the wedding.

The Coronation was broadcast on television, marking the first time the U.S. networks broadcast same-day coverage of European events, and it was watched by an immense audience. In the U.K., 27 million people (out of the 36 million population) watched the ceremony on television and 11 million listened on the radio.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Coronation portrait, June 1953, London, England

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Coronation portrait, June 1953, London, England

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