On this day in history, June 2, 1953, Queen Elizabeth II was formally crowned monarch of the United Kingdom in a lavish ceremony full of royal traditions.
More than 1,000 guests, dignitaries and royals attended the coronation at London’s Westminster Abbey, while hundreds of millions of people listened on radio and for the first time watched the proceedings on live television, noted History.com.
Following the ceremony, thousands of people cheered the 27-year-old queen and her husband, Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, as the pair traveled a five-mile procession route in a horse-drawn carriage, the same source also said.
Queen Elizabeth II became the 39th sovereign and sixth queen to be crowned at Westminster Abbey — where every coronation for the last 900 years has taken place, according to the Royal Collection Trust.
The coronation service that is used in modern times can be traced back to the crowning of King Edgar at Bath in 973, notes the same source.
More than 20 million people watched the service on television, outnumbering the radio audience for the first time, recounts the BBC.
Born in 1926, Elizabeth was the firstborn daughter of Prince Albert Frederick Arthur George, the second son of King George V.
Her grandfather died in 1936 and her uncle was proclaimed King Edward VIII, says History.com.
On Dec. 10, 1936, King Edward VIII abdicated the throne in order to marry divorcee Wallis Simpson, an American, and became known as the Duke of Windsor, says the National Archives of the U.K.
Elizabeth’s father was proclaimed King George VI in his place, notes History.com.
Then, on Feb. 6 1952, King George VI died and Princess Elizabeth immediately acceded to the throne, becoming Queen Elizabeth II and taking on all the responsibilities of her new title, says the Royal Family’s official website.
She received the news of her father's death and her own accession to the throne while on an official visit to Kenya, while on a Commonwealth tour, according to the same source.
On the eve of her coronation, Queen Elizabeth II made a radio broadcast to the people of the Commonwealth, in which she pledged her devotion to its people, saying, "Throughout all my life and with all my heart I shall strive to be worthy of your trust," says the official site of the Royal Family.
Following a trip with her parents to South Africa in 1947, a formal announcement was released that Princess Elizabeth was betrothed to her distant cousin Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten of the Royal Navy, formerly Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, says Britannica.
The marriage took place in Westminster Abbey on Nov. 20, 1947.
Their first child, Prince Charles (Charles Philip Arthur George), was born Nov. 14, 1948, at Buckingham Palace, the same source said.
Two years later, a daughter, Anne (Princess Royal) arrived — and Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip's third child and second son, Prince Andrew, was born in 1960. The couple's youngest child, Prince Edward, was born in 1964, says History.com.
During her reign, Queen Elizabeth participated in some 300 public events each year, says the Library of Congress.
"She held weekly meetings with prime ministers, 15 during the course of her reign, beginning with Winston Churchill and ending with Liz Truss just two days before her death," says the same source.
Queen Elizabeth II did not cut back on her appearances and duties until her final year, and then only on medical advice, notes the Library of Congress.
For her Silver Jubilee in 1977, she reflected on her early promise of service: "Although that vow was made in my salad days, when I was green in judgment, I do not regret nor retract one word of it," recounts the same source.
In September 2015, Elizabeth surpassed the record of 63 years and 216 days on the throne set by Queen Victoria (her great-great-grandmother) to become the longest-reigning British monarch in history, notes the same source.
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip were married for an extraordinary 73 years, until the prince died in April 2021 at the age of 99, says History.com.
Queen Elizabeth II passed away on Sept. 8, 2022 at the age of 96.
At the time of her death, she was the longest reigning monarch in British history, says History.com.
Her eldest son Charles ascended to the thrown at age 73 as King Charles III.
His coronation as king took place on May 6, 2023.