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.
On June 2, 1953, Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her official coronation—an event 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, you can watch it, too.
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. Shortly before her passing on September 8, 2022, the longest-living and longest-ruling British monarch celebrated her platinum jubilee, which marked an unprecedented 70 years on the throne.
Elizabeth's official coronation ceremony itself was delayed not only because of the time it takes to arrange such a detailed event, but also 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 2023.