👑 On this day in 1953, Her Majesty The Queen’s coronation was held at Westminster Abbey.
Source: The British Royalist Society, which writes:
“The Queen was the 39th sovereign to be crowned in the Abbey and the sixth Queen to be crowned there in her own right. The service used for the Queen’s coronation descends directly from King Edgar’s in 973.
“The Sovereign’s procession was made up of 250 people including Church leaders, Commonwealth Prime Ministers, members of the Royal Household, civil and military leaders and the Yeoman of the Guard.
“Her Majesty’s accession to the throne also set history in and of itself. Queen Mary (the Queen’s grandmother) was the first grandmother to see two Sovereigns ascend and Prince Charles was the first child to witness his mother’s coronation as Sovereign. Princess Anne did not attend the ceremony as she was considered to be too young. On a side note, Princess Marie Louise (Queen Victoria’s granddaughter) witnessed four coronations, including that of Elizabeth II.
“129 nations and territories were represented at the coronation with a whopping 8,200 guests were in attendance.
“Read more about the coronation and its importance here.”
[The Anglophilic Anglican notes that the above-linked short essay on the Coronation is quite fascinating and helpful in understanding the significance of this ceremony.]
None of them look terribly happy about it, in this picture – but considering that Her Majesty had come to the crown unexpectedly due to the premature death of her father, King George VI, that is perhaps to be expected.
Nota Bene: I am not certain of the identity of the prelate to the right of Her Majesty; but she was crowned by the Most Reverend and Right Honorable Geoffrey Francis Fisher, then Archbishop of Canterbury. Aside from the Coronation of Her Majesty, he is perhaps most famous for his assertion that
“We [meaning the Church of England, and by extension Anglicans in general] have no doctrine of our own — we only possess the Catholic doctrine of the Catholic Church enshrined in the Catholic creeds, and those creeds we hold without addition or diminution. We stand firm on that rock.”
The one to the far left, I am quite confident, is then-Bishop of Durham Arthur Michael Ramsey, who became the 100th Archbishop of Canterbury (1961 – 1974), following Fischer: one of the greatest – arguably, the greatest of the 20th century – occupants of that Primatial See. He was known as a gifted theologian, educator, and advocate of Christian unity, and the writer of many books, perhaps most notably his first: The Gospel and the Catholic Church.
Ironically and somewhat amusingly, Fisher – who had been Ramsey’s headmaster at Repton, and known him basically all his life – is said to have counseled Prime Minister Harold Macmillan against selecting Ramsey for approval by Her Majesty as Archbishop of Canterbury, commenting that
“Doctor Ramsey is a theologian, a scholar and a man of prayer. Therefore, he is entirely unsuitable as Archbishop of Canterbury.”
Macmillan reportedly responded,
“Thank you, your Grace, for your kind advice. You may have been Doctor Ramsey’s headmaster, but you were not mine.”
Ramsey was duly selected.