Relive the glorious Coronation Day 60 years ago when a glamorous young Princess became Queen Elizabeth II

The authority and dignity of the Queen is so etched upon the nation, it's hard to grasp fully the excitement generated by her coronation on 2 June, 1953.

To celebrate the moment when a nation still bearing the scars of war was treated to pomp and ceremony on an unprecedented scale we take a look back at stunning images of the occasion.

At the centre of the lavish spectacle was the radiant 26-year-old monarch, clad in white silk and laden with jewels, and her attractive young family. Sixteen months before, then Princess Elizabeth, she'd awoken to news of the death of her beloved father George VI; now her position as his successor was to be formalised.
It was the first time such an event had been broadcast in full on TV and tapes were flown across the Atlantic so that Canadians could see it on the same day.

Ahead of the 60th anniversary celebration, relive the joyous day when 8,251 guests in Westminster Abbey and millions more around the world witnessed the start of a new reign.


Cheering crowds some of whom had camped over night were rewarded with the sight of their new sovereign on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.

While the Queen and Prince Philip were thrilled by their devotion, Charles, four, and Anne, two, in specially commissioned cream and silk outfits were slightly bemused by the proceedings. 

From their vantage point the royals could look out on some of the three million people who turned out in London and view an RAF flypast down the Mall. 

Earlier in the day throngs had lined the streets to glimpse their brave young Princess, wearing the George IV State Diadem, on her way to be installed as Queen Elizabeth II.

She was conveyed in the Gold State Coach, which was built in 1762 and has starred in every coronation since George IV's in 1821. 

The State Coach, seen here at Admiralty Arch, was drawn by eight grey geldings. On its guilded roof sat three cherubs representing England, Scotland and Ireland. 

At the ceremony in Westminster Abbey the Queen was handed symbols of authority – the orb, the sceptre, which represents temporal power, the rod of mercy, representing her spiritual role and the royal ring of sapphire and rubies.

She was also given the armills – gold bracelets symbolising wisdom and authority.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Geoffrey Fisher, then placed St Edward's Crown on her head. The crown consists of 444 stones and dates back to 1661 when it was created to replace one destroyed by Oliver Cromwell. 

Six aristocratic beauties including Winston Churchill's niece were chosen to carry the Queen's 18ft  velvet train, which one recalls, was as heavy as a carpet.

The occasion meant new Norman Hartnell dresses, which was a real treat since clothes were still on coupons. Afterwards, the Maids of Honour received beautiful brooches of the monarch's initials in her handwriting in diamonds. 

On Coronation Day and in this portrait taken shortly afterwards, Her Majesty showed what the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, described in his Diamond Jubilee sermon as "a quality of joy" in her life of service. 

A group photograph with the extended family including the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret. The Queen now wears the Imperial State Crown, featuring 2,868 diamonds, and traditionally used by monarchs for their departure from the Abbey. 

Up and down the land, her subjects celebrated at street parties complete with their own queen. At this one in Kensington, London, 14-year-old Maureen Atkins was 'crowned'  by the local vicar.

Some 253 children attended enjoying a magic show, clowns and cake. They were later given a 15 shilling savings certificate.

At another young boys race with a Pearly Queen of Lambeth officiating. 

Beyond these shores, her peoples around the globe also joined in the festivities. At a pageant in Sydney 6000 locals formed a huge Union Jack. 

In Britain the national party ended with a firework display on the Southbank.