The 2nd June 2013 marks the 60th anniversary of the Coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. In front of more than 8,000 guests, including prime ministers and heads of state from around the Commonwealth, she took the Coronation Oath and is now bound to serve her people and to maintain the laws of God. Almost 60 years after that ceremony – the anniversary falls on Sunday – the Queen’s Coronation remains part of our popular memory, the great spectacle that ushered in the new Elizabethan age and set the tone for her reign.
The full proceedings of a coronation in medieval times, and up to Elizabeth I’s and beyond, fell into four parts. The new monarch had first to take possession of the Tower: the significance of that move is obvious enough, it was to make the traditions associated with the Tower continued to be adhered to. The second stage was the sovereign’s progress through the city to Westminster on the eve of the coronation. The third was the coronation itself in Westminster Abbey, with the procession to it. The fourth was the banquet in Westminster Hall after the ceremonies in the Abbey.