Coronation Portrait of Queen Elizabeth II

Long Live the Queen: A Look Back at Elizabeth II's Coronation

Formally crowned on June 2, 1953, Queen Elizabeth is the longest-reigning British monarch.

Queen Elizabeth II was just 25 years old when she took the throne following her father King George VI's death on February 6, 1952 at the age of 56. Yet, it would be another 16 months before the Queen was formally crowned in a ceremony considered ground-breaking for its time (more on that to come). On the 65th anniversary of her coronation, FOTO looks back at the pomp and circumstance surrounding the royal celebration.

DUSTING OFF THE FINERIES Cornell Capa/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images DUSTING OFF THE FINERIES Preparations for the coronation began a full 14 months before the event, as it was considered in poor taste to stage a lively celebration in the months following a monarch's death. Here, tailors at London's Moss Bros. repair robes for an earl, peeress, and viscount in anticipation of the coronation. PAINT BY NUMBER Popperfoto/Popperfoto/Getty Images PAINT BY NUMBER At the Edgington flag factory in Kent, artists finish ornate cartouches bearing the Queen's cypher. FLAGS OF OUR FOREFATHERS Popperfoto/Popperfoto/Getty Images FLAGS OF OUR FOREFATHERS In another scene from Edgington, Mr. Valentine, head of the art department, retouches a Christ College house flag, while his staff toil away on various banners. QUITE A RIDE Hulton Archive/Getty Images QUITE A RIDE On the morning of the coronation, Queen Elizabeth and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, were driven from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey in the Gold State Coach, which dates back to 1762. The carriage was pulled by eight grey geldings: Cunningham, Tovey, Noah, Tedder, Eisenhower, Snow White, Tipperary, and McCreery. HIT PARADE Bettmann/Bettmann Archive HIT PARADE Some 30,000 men — many of them from various branches of the military — took part in the procession, and an estimated 3 million people lined the London streets to catch a glimpse of the queen's carriage. THE BIRD'S EYE VIEW Popperfoto/Popperfoto/Getty Images THE BIRD'S EYE VIEW ALL THE QUEEN'S WOMEN Print Collector/Getty Images ALL THE QUEEN'S WOMEN Following in the footsteps of Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth selected six maids of honor to help carry her long train down the aisle of Westminster Abbey. The white satin gown was designed by Norman Hartnell, who also crafted the monarch's wedding dress. THE WORLD WATCHES Hulton Archive/Getty Images THE WORLD WATCHES The 3.5-hour ceremony — including the placing of the St. Edward's Crown (weighing nearly 5 pounds and dating back to 1661) on Elizabeth's head — was the first coronation to be televised. It was watched by some 27 million people in the U.K. and millions more around the globe. For all her insistence in broadcasting the affair, Queen Elizabeth did instruct the cameras to cut away once — during the anointing, which she considered a sacred moment. IT IS FINISHED Print Collector/Print Collector/Getty Images IT IS FINISHED Carrying the orb and scepter, Queen Elizabeth makes her way back to Buckingham Palace after the ceremony. Her return route was designed to pass as many well-wishers as possible, running the length of nearly 4.5 miles and taking two hours. AN UNPRECEDENTED REIGN Hulton Deutsch/Corbis via Getty Images AN UNPRECEDENTED REIGN As of September 9, 2015, Queen Elizabeth became the longest-reigning British monarch, surpassing great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria. The 92-year-old is also the first British sovereign to celebrate a Sapphire Jubilee (65 years on the throne). Long live the queen!



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