Queen Coronation 60th anniversary service: As it happened

Key Points

  • A service to mark the 60th anniversary of the Queen's Coronation has taken place at Westminster Abbey
  • The Duke of Edinburgh attended despite pulling out of an engagement on Monday night because he was unwell
  • More than 20 members of the Royal Family attended, including the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
  • Queen Elizabeth II was just 27 when she was crowned in a ceremony at the abbey on 2 June 1953
  • Other guests included UK PM David Cameron, who read to the congregation, and religious leaders from many faiths
  • The service was the main national event to celebrate the coronation and follows celebrations last year for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee

    Good morning and welcome to our live coverage of the 60th anniversary of the Queen's Coronation. The Queen is attending a service at Westminster Abbey to mark the occasion and we will bring you all the events as they happen, including reports from our correspondents, photographs and reaction to the event.


    About 2,000 people, including more than 20 members of the Royal Family, are expected to attend the service which gets under way at 11:00 BST.


    The crowds are already gathering in Westminster and it is looking like good weather for the occasion. The forecast is for sunshine all day.


    You can read our main story on the service here.


    Buckingham Palace says the Duke of Edinburgh is expected to attend the service despite pulling out of an engagement on Monday night because he was feeling unwell.


    Prime Minister David Cameron and the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Kamalesh Sharma, are due to give readings at the service, which will be conducted by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall. Dean Hall tells the BBC the day will be "one of celebration and thanksgiving".

    A man wearing a crown waits outside Westminster Abbey, in central London, ahead of a service of celebration to mark the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's coronation.

    Royal watchers and well-wishers are already waiting outside Westminster Abbey ahead of the service.


    The Queen's Coronation took place in London on 2 June 1953. It took six months to prepare for and to get the site ready for 8,000 guests. Watch our short film about the preparations, with original footage from the Coronation here.

    Crowds outside Westminster Abbey

    The streets in front of Westminster Abbey were empty earlier this morning but people are now filling the area to get a good view. Meanwhile, guests are trickling into the abbey.


    The Queen will look back on her reign with "tremendous satisfaction", royal historian Hugo Vickers tells the BBC. "She's been so steadfast all through the reign and that's carried her through. That phrase 'dysfunctional' is not used about the Royal Family anymore and that's entirely to her credit," he says.

    1019: Peter Hunt Royal correspondent

    tweets: Black Rod, in tights, just walked past heading to Westminster Abbey for Coronation service.


    As well as the BBC News Website's live page, there are plenty of different ways to follow today's events. The service is being broadcast live on BBC One and on BBC Radio 4 from 10:55 BST. There will also be highlights of the service on BBC Two at 19:00.

    Woman in Union Jack dress

    The guests' hats and outfits will be closely scrutinised by the crowds, press and royal watchers. But some enthusiastic revellers also appear to be competing for the crown of best-dressed spectator.


    BBC Radio 5 live reporter Lesley Ashmall tweets: Big huddle of people outside Abbey to see the Queen! Some very excited tourists who can't believe their luck.

    1026: Katherine Smith

    tweets: Waiting for the queen to arrive at westminster abbey #coronationservice


    Poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy has written a poem especially for the anniversary. Actress Claire Skinner - star of BBC sitcom Outnumbered - will read it during the service.

    1029: Sally Morel, France

    emails: My mother took me and two school friends to see the Coronation. We arrived the morning before and marked our pitch in the Mall. Great excitement seeing many royals and dignities.


    "There was a wonderful spirit of camaraderie, people laughing and singing songs... There was a wonderful spirit of joy," Jamaican Betty Graham-Higgins says. You can have a look here at some more of the memories people who took part 60 years ago have shared with the BBC.

    Royal fan with union jack

    The crowds gathering in bright sunshine outside the abbey will also greet the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, as well as the Duke of Cambridge and the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge. It will be the first time the couple, whose first baby is due next month, have attended a public event at the abbey since they married there two years ago.


    At the time the Coronation was a major television spectacle, with an estimated 27 million Britons tuning in. Find out how the Coronation kick-started Britain's love of TV.

    Mabel Anderson sat for the service

    Mabel Anderson, Prince Charles' nanny at the time of the Coronation in June 1953, takes her seat in the abbey, dressed in cream.


    Sixty years on, choristers tell BBC Radio 4 about the excitement of performing at the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.


    Religious leaders from the churches of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have just arrived at Westminster Abbey. Members of the Royal Family are also now taking their seats.

    1038: Mrs Wiggins, Liverpool

    texts: We had a lovely Coronation Day as a family of six. Our father had died and we went out to the street parties to get food. It was our first meal in four days. Times were hard then but as children you just accepted your circumstances, no matter what.


    BBC royal correspondent Peter Hunt says the service is a chance for the "Queen to reflect on a ceremony which she saw as a solemn religious act of dedication".


    The Coronation was a strictly Anglican Christian event, but 60 years later Sikhism, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism and other faiths are represented. They have just taken part in a procession through the abbey.

    1040: Valerie

    texts: We had a street party for the Coronation but Mum and Dad wanted to listen to the news about Everest being climbed first. I got really annoyed worried that all the jelly and ice cream would be gone. Jelly and ice cream are more important than mountain climbing when you're only four.

    1043: Rosemary, Northants

    texts: I was eight and remember we had the day off school. My brother went out and bought this tiny TV set and I remember that I was glued to the TV for the whole day. It was magical, even though raining.


    The 2,000-strong crowd falls silent as they await the arrival of the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, with just under 15 minutes to go until the start of the service.

    Duke and Duchess of Kent walk down the aisle

    The Duke and Duchess of Kent are among the 20 or so members of the Royal Family taking their seats for the service.

    1048: Bryan Preston, Montalivet les Bains, France

    emails: My father was a pharmacist in Aldridge in Staffordshire and the shop next door was a radio shop that had just started selling televisions so my parents bought one for the Coronation. I was seven years old and very keen to watch as my Grandfather Arthur Dawson was in Westminster Abbey for the ceremony as he was Mayor of Bury in Lancashire.

    Westminster Abbey

    Westminster Abbey is almost full now as a whole host of Royal Family members arrive.

    Royals arrive at Westminster Abbey

    More royals are arriving, including the Duke of York and Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.

    Prince William, Harry and Kate Middleton

    They are followed by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who were married in the abbey in April 2011, and Prince Harry.

    1054: Claire Cox

    tweets: So many pretty hats at this #coronation i love a royal event!

    1055: Ray Damms

    tweets: Congratulations to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 2, on her 60th year as monarch and the coronation. (Hip, hip, hip - hooray)!!!

    The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall arrive

    The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall arrive. The Queen and Prince Philip should be next to arrive.

    1058: Janet, South Ruislip

    texts: It was my first sight of a television, in a school room, aged just 11.

    Westminster Abbey procession

    It may be 60 years on, but the anniversary of the Coronation is steeped in as much pageantry as the original event.


    The crowds cheer as the Queen's car arrives at Westminster Abbey. The bells ring out.


    Sixty years on from her Coronation, the Queen enters the abbey. About 2,000 guests sing the hymn, I was glad when they said unto me.


    The guests all rise for the hymn, as the Queen begins her procession down the aisle.

    Prince William and Kate Middleton

    The order of service includes readings, prayers, hymns and the national anthem.

    1105: Chris Gold

    tweets: The Duchess of Cambridge looks stunning. Pregnancy suits her, she is glowing. And her maternity wear is perfection. Quite the bump now too.

    1108: Luisa Baldini BBC News

    tweets: Minor argy-bargy outside Westminster Abbey as twice, rather bullying men try to get onto vantage points where people have been waiting hours

    1109: KD

    tweets: Carol Ann Duffys taking part in this coronation, the English department will be in their element.


    The Queen wore an Angela Kelly dress, hat and coat, with the clothes made from oyster coloured silk-satin brocade that has been in the Buckingham Palace's material room for a number of years.

    1111: Olayinka

    tweets: The Duke of Edinburgh, who fell ill last night, also makes it to Queen Elizabeth's 60th Coronation Anniversary

    1112: Luisa Baldini BBC News

    tweets: Duke of Edinburgh IS with The Queen #coronation service - applause from crowd outside


    Guests take their seat as the first hymn draws to a close. It was sung by the Choir of Her Majesty's Chapel Royal, St James's Palace, and conducted by James O'Donnell, organist and master of the choristers.


    A rousing rendition of God Save the Queen rings out around the abbey before Prime Minister David Cameron begins his reading.


    Click here to hear how global radio reported celebrations of the Queen's Coronation.

    1115: Sandra Leaton Gray

    tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay Now this should have been an excuse for another brilliant national holiday, would it not?

    1116: Mrs I. McMillen

    emails: In 1953, we lived in a block of flats and were one of the few people who had a TV. My parents, children and some neighbours, all wearing red, white and blue paper hats and with flags, came in to watch the ceremony in a shaded room, which we thought was better for the eyes. The TV ceremony was in black and white and a few days later we went to the cinema to see the Pathe News, where we it saw it again in colour.

    David Cameron

    The prime minister has just read to the congregation from the Old Testament Book of Kings.


    BBC Radio 5 live's Lesley Ashmall tweets: Outrage at Westminster! They didn't stop the traffic so people who'd been queuing for ages to see Queen couldn't!

    Queen Elizabeth II arrives with Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (L) and Dean of Westminster, The Very Reverend Dr John Hall (R) for a celebration to mark the 60th anniversary of the Coronation Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey

    The Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall (right), led prayers at the abbey: "As we pray for her Majesty, for the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, and other members of the royal family, in health and wealth, long to live, and for peace and prosperity throughout these lands."


    How does today compare with the Coronation 60 years ago? Read all about the original event here.

    1121: Peter Jennings, Appleton, Abingdon, Oxon

    emails: In 1953 we lived in SE London and my father had recently bought an old (1927) Rolls-Royce which we used as a family car. On the day after the Coronation we decided to go up to have a look at the decorations. We drove up the Mall and as we approached the Palace the police ran out and inquired: "Palace Sir?". My father declined, whereupon they asked him if he would use the heavy car to help them push back the crowds!

    1122: Zoe Bush

    tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay Very proud to be British and ruled by such an amazing monarch. God save the Queen! V. pleased to see DofE there #coronation


    The only hymn that was sung at the Coronation 60 years ago - All people that on Earth do dwell - is now echoing around the walls of the abbey.

    1123: Allan, Falkirk, Scotland

    emails: My parents were very busy on Coronation Day. That was the day of their wedding! And on Sunday they celebrated their 60th Wedding Anniversary. They were delighted that Her Majesty could find time in her current busy schedule to send them an anniversary card.

    Duke of Edinburgh

    The Duke of Edinburgh is attending today's service despite pulling out of an official engagement last night after becoming unwell.

    Ed Miliband and David Cameron

    Political rivalries are set to one side for the day as Ed Miliband, the leader of the Queen's official opposition - Labour - took his seat next to the prime minister.


    The Most Reverend Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, is looking back to the Coronation as he begins his address.

    Archbishop Welby

    "We live in a hierarchy under authority that ascends to God's limitless love," Archbishop Welby tells the congregation.

    1132: Paul Rapsey, Ontario, Canada

    emails: I was just three. We were living in Haslemere, Surrey. I stayed home with the nanny but my parents were there in London. I still have recollections of the excitement leading up to and after the Coronation - the replica Gold Coach and horsemen my parents gave me, the special newspapers printed in golden ink, the magazines. I still have much of this and it was such a big part of my growing up.

    1132: Peter Hopkinson, Portsmouth

    tweets: Just passing Westminster Abbey on way to National Gallery; tv crews from all over world here for Coronation celebrations.

    1134: Ruth Mackie, Christchurch, New Zealand

    emails: I was in the Girl Guides at the time of the Coronation and took part in a mass country dance on a local playing field. My mum embroidered my baby sister's dress with all the emblems such as a thistle, leek, roses and shamrock, and little crowns and soldiers. We didn't have TV and I think I saw the film at the cinema some time later.

    Kate Middleton

    The Duchess of Cambridge wore a dress and jacket by British designer Jenny Packham.


    The choir is now singing an anthem commissioned by Dean Hall and the Chapter of Westminster.

    1138: Hilary Mandleberg, London

    emails: I was four at the time of the Coronation. My greatest memory was of seeing the Queen drive past the prefabs where I lived along Westbourne Park Road in Kensington (now a block of council flats I think) the day after the Coronation. I think she was in a huge black Rolls with an open roof. For the occasion, I'd been given a cardboard trumpet with red, white and blue stripes on it and someone had managed to lift me onto the roof of a neighbour's garden shed so I could see what was going on. At some point, someone made off with my trumpet, which made me very unhappy.

    1139: Susan Dench, Goffs Oak

    emails: I am at work on this lovely sunny morning wishing I was in London with other well-wishers to see the Queen on her very special anniversary of her Coronation at Westminster Abbey. I will crack open a bottle later to toast our Queen Elizabeth.

    Choir boys

    Guests take their seats as another hymn led by the choir draws to a close. Religious leaders are now leading prayers for the Queen.

    1142: Bill, Gibsons, Canada

    emails: I was nine at the time of the Coronation and stayed awake all night listening to the radio, as I am doing now. It was the first great public event I remember. We are blessed by her duty to us. May God bless her.

    Crowds outside Westminster Abbey

    It is a beautiful day in central London for the crowds gathered outside Westminster Abbey - many of whom have been there since the early hours.

    1144: Gabby, Manchester

    emails: Watching the ceremony from work with no sound, enjoying making up my own words and melodies to the hymns and speeches.

    A passenger flies union jack flags from the back of a scooter outside Westminster Abbey

    A passenger flies union jack flags from the back of a scooter outside Westminster Abbey.

    1146: Claire Baxter, Stowmarket

    emails: What an amazing achievement! The Royals do us proud. Very proud to be British. And the Duchess of Cambridge looks lovely - blooming in this late stage of pregnancy.

    Queen's Coronation 60 years ago

    The moment, 60 years ago, when the Duke of Norfolk paid homage to the Queen after her Coronation at Westminster Abbey. You can read more - and watch original footage on - the Queen's Coronation here.

    1148: Lesley, Royston, Herts

    emails: Why couldn't this service have been held on the actual anniversary (2nd June), which was a Sunday - so everybody could watch it live? I am at work and will have to be content with snippets on the news tonight. It's a big event and I'm sure many people, like me, would love to be able to go along to London or watch live.

    St Edward's Crown

    The heavy, solid gold St Edward's Crown is on display on the High Altar - the first time it has left the Tower of London since the Coronation.

    1150: James Devin, Bradford, Ontario, Canada

    emails: I remember watching the Coronation on television when I was 10 years old. Thanks to a neighbour several of us assembled in her den and watched the service. It was probably a delayed telecast here in Canada but nonetheless it was inspiring and symbolically laden to the young schoolboy I was then. The Queen has earned our trust and affection because of her untiring commitment to service and loyalty to her oath.

    1150: Irene Lavington

    tweets: 60 years ago my mother was standing under the trees in Hyde Park away from the drizzle to see Queen Elizabeth's car go past #coronation

    Claire Skinner

    Actress Claire Skinner reads a poem by poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, written especially for the service.

    1154: Tracy Hawkins, St. Albans

    emails: What a beautiful poem - struck just the right tone. Very impressed with the contribution from our Poet Laureate!

    Queen and Prince Philip

    The choir is singing Te Deum Laudamus, which was composed by William Walton for the Coronation, as the Queen's procession moves to the Great West Door of the Abbey Church and the service draws to a close.

    Queen with Dean Hall

    The Queen pauses as she exits the abbey to look at the original Coronation chair with Dean Hall.


    St Edward's Chair is pictured here during the Coronation.

    1201: Pamela Scott, Edinburgh

    emails: Our whole family plus neighbours were gathered round the set we had acquired for the Coronation, watching the grainy black and white pictures. It was the first time my grandmother had seen television. Because it was only fixed cameras in these days, the procession from Buckingham Palace seemed to take an age. When Richard Dimbleby, positioned at Westminster Abbey, announced from his view-point that he could see the Royal coach approaching, my grandmother could wait no longer. She jumped up from her seat, ran to the TV, peered inside the screen to the right, and cried "I can see her! I can see her!"

    External view of Queen leaving the Abbey

    There was torrential rain 60 years ago when the Queen was crowned. Today she leaves in bright sunshine after an hour-long service.

    1203: Luisa Baldini BBC News

    tweets: The Queen & Duke of Edinburgh have left Westminster Abbey after the #coronation thanksgiving service

    1204: Ba Storey, Kent

    emails: I lived in Leicester on a brand new council estate and a street party was organised. My mother made fancy dress costumes from crepe paper for my brother (a herald complete with trumpet) and me (Red Riding Hood) For what seemed like weeks in advance, people were saving coupons, donating margarine, jellies etc for the party. Later we watched the event on our neighbour's television - the only one in our street. We were all given a celebration mug - unfortunately this has not survived!

    westminster abbey

    There was barely a cloud in the sky in central London as the service drew to a close.


    Here is a reminder of what Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Rev Justin Welby, had to say during the service, as he paid tribute to the Queen's "60 years of commitment". "A nation watched. It was the first time the whole nation had watched anything as it happened. But this they saw. Pomp and ceremony on a rainy June day, all so very British, wrapped in time and custom."


    You can have a look at some of the best images from the day in our picture gallery here.

    1207: Philip Winter, Filton

    texts: What a smashing Coronation 60th Service. Camilla looked lovely, just like a Gainsborough painting! Next one in a decade?


    At the close of the service, the abbey's bells rang out. At 14:30 BST, the Westminster Abbey Company of Ringers, conducted by David Hilling, will ring a Coronation 60th Anniversary celebratory peal of London Surprise Royal, comprising 5,060 changes.

    1209: Royal Hats Blog

    tweets: William Walton's Coronation Anthem is wonderful!

    1210: Daniel Chapman, Colchester

    emails: Enjoying watching the ceremony after re-jigging revision for an exam tomorrow. There will be more hours to revise today but I'm sure that there won't be another Coronation 60th Anniversary Service in my lifetime! What a wonderful event. To celebrate the courage, service and honour that Her Majesty has ruled with for so long. And may she continue to do so for a very long time to come!

    Royal fan

    One avid royal watcher tells the BBC today was "very low key but it was lovely".

    1211: Carol Crawford, Pennsylvania, USA

    emails: It was the end of my 7th grade year, and I had a cold. I wasn't really sick, but pretended so that I could stay home and watch the Coronation on television (a very small screen in a very large box). I was enthralled. Elizabeth was indeed beautiful! I've been a fan of hers ever since.

    1212: Rhona Gibson, Kilmarnock, Scotland

    emails: Wonderful occasion. Residents in care home here have enjoyed re-living the moment when the United Kingdom rejoiced in celebrating the coronation of a young princess who was to become an outstanding Queen with clear devotion to her country.

    The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge leave Westminster Abbey, in central London, after a service of celebration to mark the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's coronation

    The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge leave Westminster Abbey after the service of celebration.

    1216: Eileen Baber, New Hampshire, USA

    emails: Just home from college for the summer, I sat transfixed as the ceremony unfolded in black and white. I believe the reels were sent over to the US as each was completed - and what an unforgettable scene it was. I particularly remember the phrase "your undoubted Queen", and, indeed, she has always been the personification of dignity and grace.


    And here is the Queen pictured leaving the service, which the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, said honoured "60 years of commitment".

    1219: Richard Johnston, New York, USA

    emails: I remember my Aunt Ruth, a confirmed Anglophile, getting up very early in the morning in Virginia to view the films of the Coronation that were developed en route in an aircraft, then rushed to the TV studios in New York to broadcast as they became available. This is what passed for immediacy in pre-satellite days.

    1219: William Standerwick, Isham, Near Kettering

    emails: I was four years old when I saw the Coronation on the television which my parents had bought, especially for the occasion, and I remember the procession up the aisle of Westminster Abbey and the crowning itself. The service this morning was wonderful. Her Majesty's selfless service to this nation has been, and continues to be, of the highest possible order.


    How have the newspapers covered the anniversary? The Daily Mail pays tribute to the Queen who, it says, is "still sparkling after 60 years".

    Man selling union jacks

    The streets outside Westminster Abbey remain crowded with well-wishers - along with those selling royal memorabilia.


    The Telegraph says the event was "more low key" than the Diamond Jubilee celebrations last year.


    A "radiant" Duchess of Cambridge is the focus of the Mirror's coverage. The paper describes her variously as "elegant", "sophisticated", "relaxed and happy".

    1231: David Nash, Lima, Peru

    emails: I was 11 years old and was one of two chosen from my class to line the Embankment full of London schoolchildren. It was magic to get such a close view of the procession. I returned home in Plumstead to find my house full of neighbours watching the event on TV. We were one of the few people having a television set in our street.


    One member of the crowd tells the BBC the event was "absolutely fantastic", adding: "We love the royal family so it's just such a special experience to be here today."


    The royals are now gathering for a private lunch with 100 guests from the abbey community in College Hall - the medieval abbot's dining hall built in the late 14th Century - in nearby Dean's Yard, hosted by the Dean and Chapter of Westminster.

    Royal Mail commemorative stamp

    Royal Mail has marked the 60th anniversary of the Coronation with a set of six stamps featuring portraits of the Queen from her six decades of reign.


    Listeners of Newsbeat on BBC Radio 1 have been sharing their views of the Queen's Coronation. Find out what they had to say here.

    The Dorcester in 1953

    The Dorchester Hotel in central London was decorated for the day of the Queen's Coronation 60 years ago.

    The Queen

    See some of the best pictures from today's events by clicking here.

    1246: Rose-Mary Gower, Penymynydd, North Wales

    emails: I was born in Guernsey and three years old at the time of the Coronation. I was being looked after by my grandmother and father, as my mother was in the maternity hospital having just produced the first of my three sisters. On the Coronation Day itself we watched the footage on TV. Then in the evening I was put to bed at my usual time of 7pm. However I was awoken about 8pm and a coat was put over my nightie, and we drove into St Peter Port to watch the magnificent water carnival put on in honour of The Queen.

    Royal fan Margaret

    One woman stayed out in central London last night to get the best spot. Margaret Kittle travelled from Canada especially for the service. BBC royal correspondent Luisa Baldini said she must have been the only person to wait overnight for a good view.

    London children celebrating the Coronation

    Westminster City Council is displaying a series a photographs of Londoners celebrating the Coronation in 1953. For details on how to visit the exhibition, click here.

    1257: Audrey Murdock, Abergavenny , Wales

    emails: I remember the day so well, I was engaged to be married. We had no TV but were invited to a friend's house - amazing. A cousin from Sweden was staying with us at the time and entered into all the jollifications. My Dad played a piano which was brought out into the street, Simple fun but memorable.

    The Queen

    That concludes our live coverage of events to mark 60 years since the Queen's Coronation. Thank you for joining us. Our main story will continue to be updated with events taking place this afternoon, including the celebratory peal of bells at Westminster Abbey, expected at 14:30 BST.


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