Prayers for Queen to mark coronation anniversary

UK News | Published:

The Queen was crowned 67 years ago in a deeply religious ceremony in Westminster Abbey on June 2 1953.

Prayers will be said for the Queen to mark the 67th anniversary of the day she was crowned.

Elizabeth II was just 27 years old and 16 months into her role as sovereign when the coronation took place, serving as a morale boost for a nation starved of pageantry following the Second World War.

The religious ceremony was staged on June 2 1953 in the historic surrounds of Westminster Abbey and was celebrated with street parties across the country.

Resident clergy will say prayers on Tuesday for the Queen and the royal family instead, the Abbey said.

The monarch, 94, will be at Windsor Castle, where she has been staying during the outbreak.

The Queen arriving at the Abbey
The Queen, flanked by the Bishop of Durham and the Bishop of Bath, arriving at Westminster Abbey with her six Maids-of-Honour (PA)

People began to bed down in the streets of London two days before the big event.


Despite the pouring rain and driving wind, the evening before, half a million people were already lining the procession route.

Camped out on The Mall
People waiting on The Mall in an all-night vigil ahead of the coronation (PA)

Despite initial reservations, the Queen eventually agreed to allow TV cameras to be present inside the Abbey to capture the historic event.

An estimated 27 million people in Britain alone watched the coronation live on their, or their neighbours’, black and white televisions.


The televised ceremony
The coronation was televised for the first time (PA)

Some 65 years later in a BBC documentary about the day, the Queen recalled how the journey had been “horrible”.

“It’s only sprung on leather,” she said of the coach, adding: “Not very comfortable.”

The Queen's carriage procession
The Queen rides with the Duke of Edinburgh in the Gold State Coach through Trafalgar Square on the way from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey for her coronation (PA)

“I remember one moment when I was going against the pile of the carpet and I couldn’t move at all,” she remarked.

Her coronation dress, by couturier Norman Hartnell, was a white satin gown, encrusted with diamonds, gold and silver bullion, seed pearls, crystals, pale amethysts and sequins to create a shimmering effect.

The Coronation dress
The Queen’s coronation dress is prepared for an exhibition at the Palace (PA)

Since the coronation, the Queen has worn the gown six times including the opening of parliament in New Zealand and Australia in 1954.

The three-hour service took place in front of a congregation of more than 8,000 people.

The Queen took the coronation oath, was anointed and received the regalia including the orb, coronation ring, the glove and the sceptre, before being crowned with the majestic St Edward’s Crown.

The crowning
The moment the Queen was crowned by the Archbishop of Canterbury (PA)

The Duke of Edinburgh swore to be his wife’s “liege man of life and limb” and was the first layman to pay tender homage to the newly crowned monarch.

Prince Charles watched in the Abbey seated between his widowed grandmother, the Queen Mother, and his aunt, Princess Margaret, but two-year-old Princess Anne was considered too young to attend.

Charles during the service
A bored looking Prince Charles – between the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret – during the ceremony (PA)

The Queen changed into a robe of purple velvet and put on the lighter Imperial State Crown before she left the Abbey.

She appeared on the balcony with Philip and other members of the royal family including Charles and Anne to wave at the crowds.

On the balcony
The royal family on the Palace balcony (PA)

“Throughout all my life and with all my heart I shall strive to be worthy of your trust,” she said.

The Queen is now the nation’s longest reigning monarch and has been seen as a source of stability during the coronavirus crisis.

The Queen at Windsor
The Queen riding Balmoral Fern, a 14-year-old Fell Pony, in Windsor Home Park over the weekend (Steve Parsons/PA)

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