As we remember the late Queen Elizabeth II, we cannot forget her coronation, a historic event that was watched by millions of people around the world.
A Carnival of Celebration
On 2 June, 1953, Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation was a carnival of celebration with half a million spectators lining her procession route. The images were beamed around the world, and an estimated 27 million people in Britain alone watched the coronation live on their black and white televisions. The uncrowned Queen Elizabeth II set out from Buckingham Palace in the Golden State Coach, with the procession some 250 strong including traditional representatives from crown, church, and state as it entered the abbey.
The Coronation Dress
The Queen’s 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. It took Hartnell and his team months to make the dress, which featured embroidered floral emblems of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. The dress also had a 13-foot-long train, which was carried by eight train-bearers.
The Coronation Service
The coronation service, which took place in front of a congregation of more than 8,000, began with the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Geoffrey Fisher’s declaration to the assembled bishops: “Sirs, I here present unto you Queen Elizabeth, your undoubted Queen.” The ceremony was steeped in tradition and included the anointing of the Queen with holy oil, the presentation of the crown jewels, and the taking of the coronation oath. After the ceremony, trumpets sounded, and royal gun salutes were fired at the Tower of London and elsewhere.
Return Procession and Coronation Chicken
After the ceremony, each Commonwealth prime minister had his own carriage for the longer return procession to the Palace. Coronation chicken was also invented for the foreign guests who were to be entertained afterward. The night came to an end as hundreds of thousands on London’s Victoria Embankment watched a lavish coronation fireworks display.
The Queen’s coronation was a momentous occasion that was watched by millions of people around the world. It was a celebration of tradition and the beginning of a new era for the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. The dress, the service, and the procession were all steeped in history and tradition, and they continue to be remembered and celebrated to this day. Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation was not only a historic event, but it was also a symbol of hope and a new beginning for a post-war world.
1. Who was Queen Elizabeth II’s couturier and what was her coronation dress made of?
2. How many people watched Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation and where was it held?
3. Who declared Queen Elizabeth II as the undoubted Queen during her coronation and in front of how many people?
4. What was the procession route of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation and what was the significance of the Tower of London and the Victoria Embankment?
5. What is Coronation Chicken and why was it invented for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation?