On May 12, 1937, Princess Elizabeth—then just 11 years old—looked on as her father, King George VI, was crowned at Westminster Abbey. Little did she know that just 16 years later, she would be in the exact same place and at the center of the very same ceremony.
June 2 marks the anniversary of the queen’s official coronation—an event in 1953 that made royal history in a number of ways, most notably because it was the first to be televised around the world (in the UK alone, more than 27 million people tuned in). Thanks to the power of the internet, watching Netflix’s The Crown isn’t the closest you can get to witnessing the event.
While the coronation marked Queen Elizabeth II’s formal investiture, the former princess had officially ascended to the throne more than a year earlier, upon the death of her father on February 6, 1952. The longest-living and longest-ruling British monarch will celebrate her platinum jubilee, marking an unprecedented 70 years as queen, in 2022.
The official ceremony itself was delayed not only because of the time it takes to arrange such a detailed event, but because holding the ceremony during a period of mourning for the family would have been deemed inappropriate. Though Elizabeth’s grandmother, Queen Mary of Teck, passed away less than three months before Elizabeth’s coronation, she stipulated in her will that the ceremony move forward as planned.
You can watch the coronation ceremony in several parts in the videos below.
This article was originally published in 2019; it has been updated for 2022.