On 6 February 1952, while Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip were off to Australia and New Zealand via Kenya when the news came in that King George VI had died, it made the nearly 26-year-old princess Queen.
Preparations quickly were in full force for the coronation to be held after an appropriate time of mourning had passed. The first meeting Coronation Commission was held in April 1952 with Prince Philip as Chair. It was under his guidance that the coronation was as triumphant as it was, he urged it to be the first to be televised much to the dismay of the traditionalists. The Duke understood that this would be significant good PR for the family and saw it as a production. Elizabeth backed her husband after lengthy disapproval from the Cabinet including Winston Churchill who was Prime Minister at the time.
So Canadian’s could watch the coronation the same day as Britons, RAF Canberras flew BBC film recordings of the ceremony across the Atlantic Ocean. US networks had similar plans in place.
Queen Mary, Elizabeth’s grandmother, who had an influential hand in raising her grandchildren died shortly before the coronation on 24 March 1953. Yet, before her death, Mary wished that the coronation go on as planned so on 2 June 1953, Elizabeth became sworn in as Sovereign.
Celebrations were held across the Commonwealth in honour of the new queen. The United Kingdom, Canada, South Africa and New Zealand all issued special edition coins. Acorns from the oaks at Windsor Park were sent across the Commonwealth where they were planted in a variety of public spaces, now known as the Coronation Oaks.
Street parties were held around the UK, and a fireworks display at Victoria Embankment topped off a successful day!
As we remember this iconic moment, please join Royal Central on Twitter as we live tweet the events of 2 June 1953.