On 2nd June 1953, the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II took place. Villages, towns and cities across the UK were decorated in red, white and blue bunting, and in London the roads were packed with people waiting to see the royal processions.
The Coronation was the first ever to be televised, and the sales of TV. sets rocketed. Most homes before the coronation had no television. Many people bought a television for this special occasion. Compared to our present day ones, the televisions in the 1950s were black and white, as colour-sets were not available then, and the tiny 14-inch screen was the most popular size.
Queen Elizabeth II was crowned in Westminster Abbey in London, in a ceremony that lasted almost three hours, starting at 11:15 am.
The crowning of the Sovereign is an ancient ceremony which has taken place at Westminster Abbey for over 900 years. Before the Abbey was built, Coronations were carried out wherever was convenient, for example at Bath, Oxford and Canterbury.
Towards the end of the ceremony the Queen was handed the four symbols of authority:
- the orb - representing the Sovereign's role as Defender of the Faith.
- the sceptre with the cross- representing Christianity over the British Empire (not politically correct today)
- the rod of mercy (sceptre with the dove) - symbolising the Holy Ghost
- the Coronation ring (often referred to as 'The Wedding Ring of England')
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Geoffrey Fisher, then placed St Edward's Crown on her head to complete the ceremony. The St. Edward's Crown, made in 1661,weighs 4 pounds and 12 ounces and is made of solid gold.
The Queen replaced her father, King George VI, as monarch following his death on 6 February 1952.
Also on this day
2nd June, 1953: Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay reached the summit of Mount Everest.