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Watch: When Queen Elizabeth II was coronated in June 1953

King Charles III will be coronated as the 13th monarch at the Westminster Abbey in London, where he bore witness to his mother’s coronation 69 years ago. Here's a look at Queen Elizabeth II's coronation ceremony in June 1953.

Queen Elizabeth II diesIn this June. 2, 1953 file photo, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh wave to supporters from the balcony at Buckingham Palace, following her coronation at Westminster Abbey, London. (AP/PTI)

King Charles III, Queen Elizabeth’s eldest son, is set to be proclaimed as Britain’s new monarch on Saturday in London. The longest reigning Queen passed away at the age of 96 on Thursday

The King will face a ceremonial body known as the Accession Council at St James’s Palace in the capital city. However, the coronation is likely to take place after a significant delay owing to the need to prepare for the elaborate function.

For instance, Queen Elizabeth, who ascended to the throne following her father’s demise in February 1952, was not coronated as the Queen until June 1953.

Charles will be coronated as the 13th monarch at the Westminster Abbey in London, where he bore witness to his mother’s coronation 69 years ago.

On June 2, 1953, the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II took place, with her husband Prince Philip by her side and her son, the 4-year-old Prince Charles watching from the royal gallery, along with his grandmother Queen Mother and aunt Princess Margaret. The Queen’s second child Princess Anne, barely three years old then, was not allowed to attend the function.

In this June 2, 1953 file photo, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II wearing the bejewelled Imperial Crown and carrying the Orb and Scepter with Cross, leaves Westminster Abbey, London, at the end of her coronation ceremony. (AP Photo/File)

In her book ‘Elizabeth The Queen The Life Of A Modern Monarch’, author Sally Bedell Smith writes that the Queen’s preparation for coronation took up a good part of her first year on the throne. “She met several times with Geoffrey Fisher, the ninety-ninth Archbishop of Canterbury, who instructed her in the spiritual significance of the various rites and gave her prayers to say. She practiced her lines and her steps every day in the ballroom at Buckingham Palace. Tied to her shoulders were sheets stitched together and augmented with weights to simulate her heavy robe and train. She sat at her desk wearing the five-pound St. Edward’s Crown dating from the coronation of Charles II, and listening to recordings of her father’s coronation,” Smith wrote in the book.

Most of the three-hour service was covered live on television, one of the first royal ceremonies to be done so.

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On the day of the function, the Queen travelled to the iconic Westminister Abbey in a Gold State Coach pulled by eight horses, wearing “her great-great-grandmother’s diadem and a coronation gown of white satin with short sleeves and a heart neckline… embroidered in pale coloured silk, gold and silver threads, semiprecious stones, seed pearls, and shimmering crystals.”

As a part of the ceremony, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who conducted the service, presented the Queen to nearly 7,500 distinguished guests seated on the four sides of the Abbey. “As the occupants of each quadrant cried “God Save Queen Elizabeth!” followed by a trumpet fanfare, she gave a slight neck bow and slow half curtsy, the only time she would ever make that dual gesture as Queen,” noted Smith.

She was then administered the Coronation Oath, which the Royal Household website described as follows:

Madam, is your Majesty willing to take the Oath?

And The Queen answering: I am willing.

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The Archbishop: Will you solemnly promise and swear to govern the Peoples of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Union of South Africa, Pakistan, and Ceylon, and of your Possessions and the other Territories to any of them belonging or pertaining, according to their respective laws and customs?


The Queen: I solemnly promise so to do.

The Archbishop. Will you to your power cause Law and Justice, in Mercy, to be executed in all your judgements?

The Queen: I will.

The Archbishop: Will you to the utmost of your power maintain the Laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel? Will you to the utmost of your power maintain in the United Kingdom the Protestant Reformed Religion established by law? Will you maintain and preserve inviolably the settlement of the Church of England, and the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government thereof, as by law established in England? And will you preserve unto the Bishops and Clergy of England, and to the Churches there committed to their charge, all such rights and privileges, as by law do or shall appertain to them or any of them?

The Queen: I will.”

Later, the archbishop blessed the hefty St. Edward’s Crown made of solid gold and set with 444 semiprecious stones and placed it on the Queen’s head, where it “momentarily dropped before rising again”.

Later, as she sat on the throne, wearing the Imperial Crown and holding the jewelled Orb and Scepter with Cross in hand, to receive homage from the guests, Prince Charles exclaimed from his seat in the gallery: “Look, it’s Mummy!”

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His aunt Princess Margaret was less excited, recalls Smith. “I’ve lost my father, and I’ve lost my sister,” is how she described her feelings about the events.

First published on: 09-09-2022 at 17:01 IST
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