On the chilly and wet morning of June 2, 1953, almost 3 million folks lined the streets of London because the dark-haired queen “rode in her golden coach, amid a thunderous tide of cheers” to her coronation, the London Herald Specific reported. “All of the panoply and color, the wealthy heat texture of age-old ceremony fashioned a superb and unforgettable canvas on which have been centered the hopes and prayers for the younger and exquisite Queen as she took her place within the nation’s historic story of Kingship.”
One of many 8,251 folks jammed contained in the abbey was 78-year-old Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill. The “proud outdated lion acclaimed his younger Queen at present along with his eyes brimming with emotion,” the Related Press reported. “The person who served Queen Victoria greater than a half century in the past repeated as soon as once more what for him have been magic phrases, ‘God save the Queen.’”
Hundreds of thousands extra watched the coronation on the brand new medium of tv. Churchill and different British leaders at first opposed televising the ceremony as undignified. However the British public sided with the queen’s husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, who argued that televising the occasion would assist modernize the monarchy. The British Broadcasting Corp. reported that greater than 20 million of Britain’s 36 million folks watched the telecast, and 11 million listened on radio.
Movie of the celebration — which befell 5 hours forward of U.S. Jap time — was flown to ABC-TV, NBC-TV and CBS-TV in New York in time to be proven that very same night. Greater than 32 million Individuals watched the protection, in response to the American Analysis Bureau. The occasion was “most likely the best second of tv’s younger life,” the Worldwide Information Service reported, spurring gross sales of TV units each in the US and England.
“Don’t miss the Coronation. See it Finest on RCA VICTOR,” blared an advert for a 17-inch black-and-white TV promoting for $329.50, equal to about $3,700 now.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower watched a part of the coronation on TV on the White Home. Eisenhower had met then-Princess Elizabeth when he was supreme commander of Allied forces in Europe throughout World Conflict II.
On the time of the coronation, the US was winding up negotiations to finish the Korean Conflict. The No. 1 track in each the US and the UK was “The Tune From Moulin Rouge.”
Greater than 2,000 journalists and 500 photographers from 92 nations coated the coronation. One photographer was a 23-year-old Jacqueline Bouvier, the soon-to-be fiancee of U.S. senator and future president John F. Kennedy. For an article distributed by the Chicago Tribune Information Service, Bouvier requested folks exterior Buckingham Palace: “Do you assume Elizabeth will likely be England’s final queen?” The article quoted Alma Santos, a housewife from Cardiff, Wales, who mentioned, “O, I couldn’t say. I hope we can have Prince Charles after her, however in future instances you by no means know what’s going to occur, do you?”
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Elizabeth was woke up at 6 a.m. on her coronation day, to be given the information of one other historic occasion 4,000 miles away. On Could 29, as a part of a British expedition, New Zealand beekeeper Edmund Hillary and Nepali-Indian mountaineer Tenzing Norgay had change into the primary climbers confirmed to succeed in the summit of 29,000-foot Mount Everest, between Nepal and Tibet. Elizabeth despatched congratulations “and retired once more,” United Press reported.
The highest coronation query was what the queen would put on. “The largest trend secret of the Coronation was revealed at present,” the New York Day by day Information reported. “Queen Elizabeth will put on a white satin gown, glitterly jeweled and embroidered, when she is topped tomorrow.” The gown was embroidered with emblems of Nice Britain and the British Commonwealth.
Although Charles has mentioned he plans a much less lavish coronation than his mom’s, he’ll lead a three-day celebration match for a king, together with a live performance with Katy Perry and Lionel Richie. In 1953, England went all out as a result of Elizabeth’s coronation was the primary for a queen since Queen Victoria was topped in 1838. On the time of her coronation, Elizabeth had really been queen for 16 months since her father, King George VI, died on Feb. 6, 1952.
The queen, escorted by hundreds of navy troops marching or on horseback, paraded to Westminster Abbey in her coated Gold State coach pulled by eight grey horses with such names as Snow White, Tipperary and Eisenhower. Philip wore a blue Navy admiral uniform laden with ribbons and medals. “To a fanfare of trumpets,” the AP reported, the queen entered the abbey sporting “a scarlet gown, its lengthy prepare carried by six maids of honor in white.” The ceremony started at 11:15 a.m. with the Archbishop of Canterbury presiding.
Elizabeth initially sat within the Chair of Property for the “recognition,” with the archbishop proclaiming her “our undoubted queen.” Then she moved to the King Edward’s Chair, made in 1300 for King Edward I, for her anointment with holy oils. Subsequent, she was offered with symbolic gadgets, together with a sword with a jeweled scabbard and the “bracelets of sincerity.” After donning the Gown Royal of gold fabric, she was given a gold orb and two royal scepters.
Then, “the second the world awaited got here when the Archbishop of Canterbury held excessive above the Queen’s head St. Edward’s Crown with its dazzle of diamonds, its arches aglow with pearls and its bejeweled cross,” the Derby Night Telegraph reported. The gold crown, which weighs almost 5 kilos, was made in 1661 for King Charles II and is a reproduction of the crown of the Eleventh-century king Edward the Confessor.
The archbishop, holding the heavy crown with two arms, gently positioned it on Elizabeth’s head. She was formally topped the queen of England. “Out from the abbey flashed a sign, and the weapons on the Tower of London, Hyde Park and at Windsor Fort and on the Thames fired royal salutes,” the AP reported.
For the primary time, she sat on the gold throne to obtain homage from her husband and different royals. The abbey rang with shouts of “Lengthy Reside Queen Elizabeth.”
“With the splendour and solemnity of an historic ritual … Elizabeth II was yesterday topped queen,” the London Day by day Telegraph reported. Some American journalists have been much less reverent. “The British did all the things through the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth besides sail a battleship into Trafalgar Sq. at excessive midday,” AP columnist Hal Boyle wrote. The New York Day by day Information ran a front-page headline declaring: “Lengthy Reside Liz.”
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Lastly, after switching to the lighter Imperial Crown, primarily based on the crown made for Queen Victoria’s coronation, Elizabeth walked slowly out of the abbey, “her face displaying no signal of pressure” from the almost three-hour ceremony “which she had borne with such dignity,” the Birmingham Put up reported. Now wearing a purple velvet gown, she returned to her coach for a meandering 4.5-mile, two-hour procession by London streets to Buckingham Palace as spectators cheered. On the palace, at 5:42 p.m., “her Majesty” got here to the balcony and waved to the gang as 168 Royal Air Drive fighter jets flew low overhead in a royal salute. The queen got here to the balcony 5 extra instances, the final at midnight. “Individuals danced in Piccadilly Circus till 3:30 a.m.,” the London Telegraph wrote.
Newspapers reported almost each motion of 4-year-old Charles. The boy sat on a stool within the Royal Gallery to observe the coronation. “Look, it’s Mummy,” he mentioned. “Prince Charles, in white shirt and knickers and along with his hair scrumptiously parted … generally appeared baffled by all of it,” the Birmingham Night Despatch wrote. However as he left, “he appeared as if he had completely loved his keep. All eyes have been upon the little determine as he waved to these about him and disappeared.”
The St. Edward’s Crown was just lately faraway from show on the Tower of London in preparation for the coronation of King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla. On Could 6, only one month in need of 70 years after his mom’s coronation, the historic crown will likely be positioned on Charles’s head. Then, for the primary time at a coronation since his grandfather’s in 1937, Westminster Abbey will ring with shouts of “God save the king.”
Ronald G. Shafer is the writer of “Breaking News All Over Again,” a group of his Retropolis columns.