1953 Great Britain
Great Britain #316 includes the coronation date.

On June 2, 1953, the coronation ceremony for Queen Elizabeth II attracted worldwide attention.

Born in 1926 to King George V’s second son and his wife, Princess Elizabeth was never expected to rule England. She was third in line behind her uncle Edward and her father Albert.

1952-54 Great Britain
Great Britain #292//308 – These definitives were some of the first Great Britain stamps to honor Elizabeth as queen.

On her grandfather George V’s death in 1936, her uncle ascended to the throne as anticipated. But King Edward VIII, as he was known, abdicated before the year was out to marry an American divorcee. Elizabeth’s parents, Albert and Elizabeth, then the Duke and Duchess of York, suddenly became King George VI and the queen consort. And ten-year-old Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor became the heir.

1953 Great Britain
Great Britain #313/15 were issued for Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953.

On February 6, 1952, Princess Elizabeth received word that her father, King George VI, had passed away, making her the country’s new queen. She immediately proclaimed herself queen, head of the Commonwealth, and defender of the Faith. Planning immediately began for her coronation, which wouldn’t be held for over a year due to extensive preparations and the desire for a sunny day.

1973 Cook Islands
Cook Islands #350 was issued for the 20th anniversary of her coronation.

On June 2, 1953, the United Kingdom was buzzing with excitement over the new queen’s coronation. The ceremony took place at London’s Westminster Abbey. Over 8,000 guests attended the ceremony, with another three million filling the streets hoping to see the new queen traveling in her golden stagecoach. Many had camped overnight to ensure a good spot. The queen promised her subjects in a radio address that “Throughout all my life and with all my heart I shall strive to be worthy of your trust.”

1953 Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Aerogramme
Item #AC847 – Queen Elizabeth II coronation aerogramme

An estimated 20 million people watched the coronation on television. Many people at the time didn’t have televisions of their own – in fact, many had never even seen a television before – so they crowded around their neighbor’s TVs. The airing of the coronation led to a dramatic increase of television sales in the United Kingdom.

2015 $3.15 Queen Elizabeth II - Through the Decades, Mint, Sheet of 6 Stamps, Antigua
Item #M11630 was issued in 2015 to honor Elizabeth as England’s longest-reigning monarch.
2022 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee, 1 Mint Stamp, Jersey
Item #MFN373 was issued for the 70th anniversary of Elizabeth’s accession to the throne.

Acorns from the oak trees surrounding Windsor Castle were mailed to nations in the Commonwealth and planted in parks, schools, and private lawns. The trees became known as royal oaks or coronation oaks.

In 2003, the queen celebrated the 50th anniversary of her coronation with a religious ceremony at the Westminster Cathedral. The congregation of about 1,000 guests included 240 people who’d attended the coronation 50 years earlier. There were also 340 “coronation babies” in attendance – people who were born on June 2, 1953.

1953 Canada
Canada #332 celebrated the queen’s coronation.

On September 9, 2015, Elizabeth II became England’s longest reigning monarch, surpassing her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria. While guiding her country through 70 years of social and political change, she remained a symbol of national stability for decades. As UN President Ban Ki-moon put it, Queen Elizabeth II truly was “an anchor of our age” in Britain, and throughout the world. Upon her passing in 2022, her reign of 70 years, 214 days came to an end. It’s the longest reign for any British monarch or female monarch.

Click here for more Queen Elizabeth II stamps, click here for royal family stamps, and click here for more Great Britain stamps.

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11 Comments

  1. I had a pal in Seattle – alas, long gone. An absolute anglophile and member of the Anglican church who stayed up to the wee hours in Seattle for a live radio broadcast of the coronation. He dutifully sang the hymns as the service progressed. This would have been the year of our high school graduation.

  2. Believe Queen Victoria was the great-great-grandmother of Queen Elizabeth II, rather than the great-grandmother as noted in the last paragraph of the article. Order of descent would be Victoria-Edward VII-George V-George VI-Elizabeth II. I read somewhere that Prince Philip is also a great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria, making him eligible to occupy the throne, but he’s too far down the priority ladder for that to ever happen. The list of succession is almost endless.

    1. Perhaps because, like arranged marriages, that form of selection and inheritance appears to work better than the election choices we Americans make.

  3. I believe she is a great Queen riding a horse at 94 – and the rest of you will crawl to a pub if you are still alive!!!

  4. I am still having to look up the This Day in History stories. I am not getting them sent to me on a regular basis

  5. It escapes me too. How did that marriage between Charles and Princess Di work out! He was a “toad” to put it mildly.

  6. That she would be Queen was inevitable. Even if Edward VIII was given permission to marry Simpson, they would have had no children, so on passing in 1972, Elizabeth would be the next in line as eldest relative (eldest Niece). She was first in line in 1953 and would have been in 1972. So why didn’t she think that someday she would be Queen?

  7. In 1953 I was 12 years old. Life magazine ran an article that said “You are Invited to the Coronation.” I told my mother that we should go! We went by watching on our black and white tv.

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