Thecoronation of Queen Elizabeth IIwas theceremonyin which the newly ascended monarch,Elizabeth II, wascrownedQueen of theUnited Zealand,South Africa,Ceylon, andPakistan, as well as taking on the role ofHead of the Commonwealth. Elizabeth, then aged 25, ascended the thrones of these countries upon the death of her father, KingGeorge VI, on 6 February 1952, and wasproclaimed queenby her various privy and executive councils shortly afterwards. The coronation was held more than a year after the accession, on 2 June 1953. This followed the tradition that a festival such as a coronation was inappropriate during the period of mourning that followed the death of the preceding sovereign. In the coronation ceremony itself, Elizabeth swore an oath to uphold the laws ofher nationsand to govern theChurch of England. Celebrations took place and acommemorative medalwas issued throughout theCommonwealth style="line-height: 1.5em; list-style-type: none; margin: 0.3em 0px; padding: 0px; list-style-image: none;">2The event
- 3Celebrations, monuments, and media
- 4See also
- 7External links
For the one-day coronation ceremony, 16 months of preparation took place, with the first meeting of the Coronation Commission taking place in April 1952,under the chairmanship of the Queen's husband,Philip, Duke of Edinburgh(later Prince Philip).Other committees, such as the Coronation Joint Committee and the Coronation Commission, were established and were more international in nature; high commissioners from other Commonwealth realms were members of these groups, reflecting the dual domestic and international nature of the coronation. Still, though British organisers wanted it to be otherwise, no officials from any Commonwealth realm other than the UK would participate in the event itself; the governments of those countries considered the ceremony to be a religious rite unique to Britain; as Canadian Prime MinisterLouis St. Laurentsaid at the time: "in my view the Coronation is the official enthronement of the Sovereign as Sovereign of the U.K... We are happy to attend and witness the Coronation of the Sovereign of the U.K. but we are not direct participants in that function."
The Coronation Commission announced in June 1952 that the coronation would take place one year later, on 2 June. Though Elizabeth's grandmotherQueen Marydied on 24 March 1953, the dowager Queen had stated in herwillthat her death should not affect the planning of the coronation, and the event went ahead as scheduled.
Norman Hartnellwas commissioned by the Queen to design the outfits for all the members of the Royal Family and especially the dress Elizabeth would wear at the coronation; Hartnell's design for the latter evolved through nine proposals, the final reached by his own research as well as numerous personal meetings with the Queen. What resulted was a white silk dress embroidered with the floral emblems of the countries of theCommonwealthat the time: theTudor roseofEngland, theScotsthistle, theWelshleek,Irish shamrockforNorthern Ireland, thewattleofAustralia, themaple leafofCanada, theNew Zealandfern,South Africa'sprotea, twolotus andjute; unknown to the Queen at the time of the gown's delivery, though, was the uniquefour-leaf cloverembroidered on the dress' left side, where Elizabeth's hand would touch throughout the day.
Elizabeth, meanwhile, rehearsed for the upcoming day with her maids of honour, a sheet used in place of the velvet train and an arrangement of chairs standing in for the carriage. So that she could become accustomed to its feel and weight, the Queen also wore theImperial State Crownwhile she went about her daily business, sporting it at her desk, at tea, and while reading the newspaper.Elizabeth took part in two full rehearsals atWestminster Abbey, on 22 and 29 May,though other sources assert that the Queen attended either "several" rehearsals or one.Typically,the Duchess of Norfolkstood in for the Queen at rehearsals.The event[edit source|editbeta]
The Coronation ceremony of Elizabeth II followed a similar pattern to the coronations of the kings and queens before her, being held in Westminster Abbey, and involving thepeerageand clergy. However, for the new Queen, several parts of the ceremony were markedly different. The coronation of the Queen was the first ever to be televised (although theBBC Television Servicehad covered part of the procession from Westminster Abbey after her father's coronation in 1937), and was also the world's first major international event to be broadcast on television. There had been considerable debate within theBritish Cabineton the subject, withPrime MinisterWinston Churchillagainst the idea; but, Elizabeth refused her British prime minister's advice on this matter and insisted the event take place before television cameras,as well as those filming with experimental3D technology.[n 1]The event was also filmed in colour, separately from the BBC's black and white television broadcast.Millions across Britain watched the coronation live, while, to make sure Canadians could see it on the same day,RAF Canberrasflew film of the ceremony across theAtlantic Oceanto be broadcast by theCanadian Broadcasting Corporation,the first non-stop flights between the United Kingdom and the Canadian mainland. InGoose Bay,Labrador, the film was transferred to aRoyal Canadian Air ForceCF-100jet fighter for the further trip toMontreal. In all, three such voyages were made as the coronation proceeded.Procession[edit source|editbeta]Queen Sālote Tupou IIIin her carriage as it proceeds Abbeyon 2 June 1953
Along a route lined with sailors, soldiers, and airmen and women from across the Commonwealth,[n 2]guests and officials passed in a procession before approximately three million spectators gathered in the streets ofLondon, some having camped overnight in their spot to ensure a view of the monarch and others having access to specially builtstandsand scaffolding along the route.For those not present to witness the event, more than 200 microphones were stationed along the path and inWestminster Abbey, with 750 commentators broadcasting descriptions in 39 languages;more than twenty million viewers around the world watched the coverage.Military representation from throughout the Commonwealth marched in parade prior to the Queen's arrival.
The procession included foreign royalty and heads of state riding to Westminster Abbey in various carriages, so many that volunteers ranging from wealthy businessmen to rural landowners were required to fill the insufficient ranks of regular footmen.The first royal coach leftBuckingham Palaceand moved downThe Mall, which was filled with flag-waving and cheering crowds. It was followed by theIrish State CoachcarryingQueen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, who wore the circlet of her crown bearing theKoh-i-Noordiamond. Queen Elizabeth II proceeded through London from Buckingham Palace, throughTrafalgar Square, and towards the abbey in theGold State Coach. Attached to the shoulders of her dress, the Queen wore the Robe of State, a 5.5metre (6yard) long, hand woven silkvelvetcloak lined with Canadianerminethat required the assistance of the Queen's maids of honour—Lady Jane Vane-Tempest-Stewart,Lady Anne Coke,Lady Moyra Hamilton,Lady Mary Baillie-Hamilton,Lady Jane Heathcote-Drummond-Willoughby,Lady Rosemary Spencer-Churchill, andthe Duchess of Devonshire—to carry.Guests[edit source|editbeta]The stools used at the coronation.
After being closed since the Queen's accession for coronation preparations, onCoronation Day, Westminster Abbey was at 6am opened to the approximately 8,000 guests invited from across theCommonwealth of Nations;[n 3]more prominent individuals, such as members of the Queen's family and foreign royalty, thepeers of the United Kingdom,heads of state,Members of Parliamentfrom the Queen's various legislatures,and the like, arrived after 8:30am.Tonga'sQueen Tupou IIIwas a guest, and was noted for her cheery demeanour even while riding in an open carriage through London in the rain.
Guests seated on stools were able to purchase theirs following the ceremony, with the profits going towards the cost of the coronation.Ceremony[edit realmsRoyal Family gathered at the coronation
Preceding the Queen into Westminster Abbey wasSt. Edward's Crown, carried into the abbey by theLord High StewardofEngland, thenthe Viscount Cunningham of Hyndhope, who was flanked by two otherpeers, while theArchbishopsand Bishops Assistant of theChurch of England, in theircopesandmitres, waited outside the Great West Door for the arrival of the Queen. When this occurred at approximately 11:00am,Elizabeth found that the friction between her robes and the carpet caused her difficulty moving forward, and she said to theArchbishop of Canterbury,Geoffrey Fisher, "get me started!"Once going, the procession, which included the variousHigh Commissionersof the Commonwealth carrying banners bearing the shields of the coats of arms of their respective nations,moved inside the abbey, up the central aisle and through the choir to the stage, as the choirs sang "I was glad", an imperial setting ofPsalm 122, vv. 1–3, 6, and 7 bySir Hubert Parry.As Elizabeth prayed at and then sat herself on the Chair of Estate to the south of the altar, the Bishops carried in the religious andchalice—and the peers holding the coronation regalia handed it over to the Archbishop of Canterbury, who, in turn, passed them to theDean of Westminster,Alan Campbell Don, to be placed on the altar.The Coronation Regalia used in the coronation of King George III and Queen Caroline, some of which was used in the 1953 coronation of QueenElizabeth IIQueen Elizabeth progresses past the Coronation Chair
After the Queen moved to stand beforeKing Edward's Chair(Coronation Chair), she turned, following as Fisher, along with theLord High Chancellorof Great Britain (the Viscount Simonds),Lord Great Chamberlainof England (the Marquess of Cholmondeley),Lord High Constable of England(the Viscount Alanbrooke), andEarl Marshalof the United Kingdom (the Duke of Norfolk), all led by theGarter Principal King of Arms(George Bellew), asked the audience in each direction of the compass separately: "Sirs, I here present unto you Queen Elizabeth, your undoubted Queen: wherefore all you who are come this day to do your homage and service, are you willing to do the same?" The crowd would reply "God save Queen Elizabeth," every time,to each of which the Queen would curtsey in return.
Seated again on the Chair of Estate, Elizabeth then took the Coronation Oath as administered by the Archbishop of Canterbury. In the lengthy oath, the Queen swore to govern each of her countries according to their respective laws and customs, to mete out law and justice with mercy, to upholdProtestantismin the United Kingdom and protect the Church of England and preserve its bishops and clergy. She proceeded to the altar where she stated "The things which I have here promised, I will perform, and keep. So help me God," before kissing the Bible and putting theroyal sign-manualto the oath as the Bible was returned to the Dean of Westminster.From him theModerator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland,James Pitt-Watson, took the Bible and presented it to the Queen again, saying "Our gracious Queen: to keep your Majesty ever mindful of the law and the Gospel of God as the Rule for the whole life and government of Christian Princes, we present you with this Book, the most valuable thing that this world affords. Here is Wisdom; This is the royal Law; These are the lively Oracles of God."; Elizabeth returned the book to Pitt-Watson, who placed it back with the Dean of Westminster.
Thecommunionservice was then conducted, involving prayers by both the clergy and Elizabeth, Fisher asking "O God... Grant unto this thy servant Elizabeth, our Queen, the spirit of wisdom and government, that being devoted unto thee with her whole heart, she may so wisely govern, that in her time thy Church may be in safety, and Christian devotion may continue in peace," before reading various excerpts from theFirst Epistle of Peter, Psalms, and theGospel of Matthew.Elizabeth was thenanointedas the assembly sang "Zadok the Priest"; the Queen's jewellery and crimson cape was removed by the Earl of Ancaster and theMistress of the Robes,the Duchess of Devonshire, and, wearing only a simple, white linen dress also designed by Hartnell to completely cover the coronation gown, she moved to be seated in the Coronation Chair. There, Fisher, assisted by Don, made a cross on the Queen's forehead withholy oilmade from the same base as that which had been used in the coronation of her father.As this segment of the ceremony was considered absolutely sacrosanct, it was concealed from the view of the television cameras by a silk canopy held above the Queen by fourKnights of the Garter. When this part of the coronation was complete, and the canopy removed, Don and the Duchess of Devonshire placed on the monarch theColobium style="margin: 0.4em 0px 0.5em; line-height: 19.1875px; font-family: sans-serif; font-size: 13px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">From the altar, the Dean of Westminster passed to the Lord Great Chamberlain thespurs, which were presented to the Queen and then placed back on the altar. TheSword of Statewas then handed to Elizabeth, who, after a prayer was uttered by Fisher, placed it herself on the altar, and the peer who had been previously holding it took it back again after paying a sum of 100shillings.The Queen was then invested with theArmills(bracelets), Stole Royal, Robe Royal, and theSovereign's Orb, followed by the Queen's Ring, theSceptre with the Cross, and theSceptre with the Dove. With the first two items on and in her right hand and the latter in her left, Queen Elizabeth was crowned by the Archbishop of Canterbury, with the crowd shouting "God save the Queen!" at the exact momentSt. Edward's Crowntouched the monarch's head. The princes and peers gathered then put on their coronets and a21-gun salutewas fired from theTower of London.Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, swears allegiance to his wife, the newly crowned queen
With the benediction read, Elizabeth moved to the throne and the Archbishop of Canterbury and all the Bishops offered to her their fealty, after which, while the choir sang, the peers of the United Kingdom—led by the royal peers: the Queen's husband;Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester; andPrince Edward, Duke of Kent—each proceeded, in order of precedence, to pay their personal homage and allegiance to Elizabeth. When the last baron had completed this task, the assembly shouted "God save Queen Elizabeth. Long live Queen Elizabeth. May the Queen live for ever!"Having removed all her royal regalia, Elizabeth kneeled and took the communion, including a and, along with the audience, recited theLord's Prayer.
Now wearing the Imperial State Crown and holding the Sceptre with the Cross and the Orb, and as the gathered guests sang "God Save the Queen", Elizabeth left Westminster Abbey through the nave and apse, out the Great West Door, followed by members of the Royal Family, the clergy, her prime ministers, etc. Then, transported back to Buckingham Palace in the Gold State Coach, with an escort of thousands of military personnel from around the Commonwealth, the Queen appeared on the balcony of the Centre Room before a gathered crowd as aflypastwent overhead.Music[edit source|editbeta]
Although it had been assumed by many that theMaster of the Queen's Musick,Arnold Bax, would be the director of music for the coronation, it was decided that it would be better to appoint the organist and master of the choristers at the abbey,William McKie, who had been in charge of music at theroyal weddingin 1947. McKie convened an advisory committee with Arnold Bax and SirErnest Bullock, who had directed the music for the previous coronation.
When it came to choosing the music, tradition demanded that Handel's "Zadok the Priest" and Parry's "I was glad" were included amongst theanthems. Other choral works included were the 16th century "Rejoice in the Lord alway" andSamuel Sebastian Wesley's "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace". Another tradition was that new work be commissioned from the leading composers of the day;Ralph Vaughan Williamscomposed a newmotet"O Taste and See",William Waltoncomposed a setting for the "Te Deum", and the Canadian composerHealy Willanwrote an anthem "O Lord our Governor".Four new orchestral pieces were planned;Arthur Blisscomposed "Processional"; William Walton, "Orb and Sceptre"; and Arnold Bax, "Coronation March".Benjamin Brittenhad agreed to compose a piece, but he caught influenza and then had to deal with flooding atAldeburgh, so nothing was forthcoming.Edward Elgar's "Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 in D" was played immediately before Bax's march at the end of the ceremony.An innovation, at the suggestion of Vaughan Williams, was the inclusion of ahymnthat the congregation were able to participate in. This proved controversial and wasn't included in the programme until the Queen had been consulted and found to be in favour; Vaughan Williams wrote an elaborate arrangement of the traditional Scottishmetrical psalm, "Old 100th", which included military trumpet fanfares.
The choir for the coronation was a combination of the choirs of Westminster Abbey,Saint Paul's Cathedral, theChapel Royal, andSaint George's Chapel, Windsor. The final complement of choristers comprised 182trebles, 37 malealtos, 62tenors, and 67basses. Together with a full orchestra, conducted by Sir Adrian Boult, the total number of musicians was 480.Celebrations, monuments, and media[edit issued for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth IIA plaque marking a tree planted in theUnited Kingdomto commemorate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II
All across the Queen's realms, the rest of the Commonwealth, and in other parts of the world, coronation celebrations were held. TheQueen Elizabeth II Coronation Medalwas also presented to thousands of recipients throughout the Queen's countries and, in Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, and the UK, commemorative coins were issued.Three million bronze coronation medallions were ordered by the Canadian government, struck by theRoyal Canadian Mint, and distributed to schoolchildren across the country; the obverse showed Elizabeth's effigy and the reverse theroyal cypherabove the wordCANADA, all circumscribed byELIZABETH II REGINA CORONATA MCMLIII.
As with the coronation of George VI, acorns shed from oaks inWindsor Great Park, aroundWindsor Castle, were shipped around the Commonwealth and planted in parks, school grounds, cemeteries, and private gardens to grow into what are known asRoyal OaksorCoronation Oaks.
In London, the Queen hosted a coronation luncheon, for which the recipeCoronation chickenwas devised,and a fireworks show was mounted onVictoria partieswere mounted around the United Kingdom. TheCoronation Cupfootball tournament was held atHampden Park,Glasgow, in May and,two weeks before the coronation, the children's literary magazineCollins Magazinerebranded itself asThe Young Elizabethan.News thatEdmund HillaryandTenzing Norgayhadreached the summitofMount Everestarrived in Britain on Elizabeth's coronation day; the New Zealand, American and British media dubbed it "a coronation gift for the new Queen".
In theUnited States, coronation parties were mounted, one inNew York Cityattended by the Queen's uncle and aunt,the DukeandDuchess of Windsor.
Military tattoos, horse races, parades, and fireworks displays were mounted in Canada. TheGovernor General of Canada,Vincent Massey, proclaimed the day a national holiday and presided over celebrations onParliament HillinOttawa, where the Queen's coronation speech was broadcast and her personal royal standard flown from thePeace Tower.Later, a public concert was held on Parliament Hill and the Governor General hosted a ball atRideau Hall.InNewfoundland, 90,000 boxes of candy were given to children, some getting theirs delivered byRoyal Canadian Air Forcedrops, and inQuebec, 400,000 people turned out inMontreal, some 100,000 atJeanne-Mance Parkalone. Amulticulturalshow was put on atExhibition PlaceinToronto, square dances and exhibitions took place in the prairie provinces, and, inVancouver, theChinese communityperformed a publiclion dance.On theKorean Peninsula,Canadian soldiersserving in theKorean Waracknowledged the day by firing blue, red, and white colouredsmoke shellsat the enemy and drank rum rations in observance.
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Vintage 1953 Antique Queen Elizabeth Ii Royal Coronation Sterling Silver Throne: