Queen Elizabeth II became Queen of England when she was just 25 years old. The year was 1952, and Elizabeth II’s father, King George VI, had just died. Elizabeth was never expected to become queen at all. But when her uncle Prince Edward abdicated the throne amidst a scandal, King George became the monarch, making his eldest daughter Elizabeth the next heir to the throne.
Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation was on June 2, 1953, at Westminster Abbey in London, England. It took place over a year after she technically became queen so there was a respectable amount of time to mourn the loss of the former monarch, her father. Elizabeth II was the sixth queen to be crowned at the historic abbey, and her silk coronation dress was designed by Norman Hartwell.
Twenty-seven million of the UK’s 36 million residents tuned in, and 11 million listened on the radio. Here’s a look back at some of the ceremony’s best moments.