1952 Elizabeth_II__Philip_after_Coronation

Today in History: 1953: Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation

02 June 2017

Attended by 8,000 guests at Westminster Abbey, plus an estimated three million spectators along the processional route through the streets of London, the ceremony was also broadcast on television for the first time, allowing her subjects elsewhere in the UK and around the British Empire and Commonwealth to watch on.

Taking 14 months to plan, the coronation was deliberately held more than a year after the death of King George VI to allow for a period of mourning. Having already declared herself the Queen, Head of Commonwealth and Defender of the Faith in February 1952, the day of the coronation itself completed the process of becoming monarch as she was handed the four symbols of authority – the orb, the sceptre, the rod of mercy and the royal ring of sapphire and rubies. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Geoffrey Fisher, then placed St Edward’s Crown on her head to complete the ceremony.

Since that day in 1953, Queen Elizabeth II has overseen the transformation of the British Empire into the Commonwealth of Nations, 13 prime ministers, seven popes, she has travelled to 116 countries on 265 official visits and has become the longest serving monarch in history, overtaking her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria.

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