Over 60 years ago on the 2nd of June, 1953 millions the world over witnessed one of the most important royal events in living memory. At precisely 11 o'clock a hush fell over the nation as people tuned in their radios, and, for many for the first time ever, television sets at a friend's or neighbours', to watch their new Queen being crowned. The crowning ceremony took place exactly as it is laid down in the history books, and when the crown was placed on the Queen's head, the country joined together in celebration.
To celebrate this majestic milestone a stunning portrait of Her Majesty at the time of her coronation over 60 years ago has been immortalised forever onto a stunning commemorative strike, plated with pure 24-carat gold. The masterful motif shows the Queen wearing her coronation robes and crown. Born on 21st April 1926 in Mayfair, London, Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was the first child of Prince Albert, Duke of York (later King George VI), and his wife, Elizabeth. She was named Elizabeth after her mother, Alexandra after George V's mother who had died six months earlier, and Mary after her grandmother - her close family called her 'Lilibet'. As a granddaughter of the monarch in the male line, Elizabeth's full title at birth was Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth of York. She was third in the line of succession to the throne, behind her uncle, Edward, Prince of Wales, and her father. Although her birth generated public interest, she was not expected to become Queen, but to be the niece of the future King. Her father, the Duke of York, the second son ofKing George V, was a shy man with a crippling stammer who had hoped to live his life in the shadow of the throne rather than upon it. His brother King Edward VIII ascended the throne on 20th January1936. However just 11 months into his reign Edward renounced his Royal title, thus, Elizabeth's father became King George VI making Elizabeth a direct heir to the throne.
The circumstances of The Queen's accession on 6th February 1952 could not have been more dramatic. The Princess was on a tour of the Commonwealth some 4,000 miles away from home, at the Treetops Hotel in Kenya. The newsof her fathers' death was broken to her by her husband, The Duke of Edinburgh. On that very same day, at the age of twenty six and a mother of two small children, she was proclaimed Queen. The solemncoronation ceremony, held sixteen months later in Westminster Abbey was the first televised coronation in our history - with an estimated audience of 20 million people watching the service on TV andanother 12 million listening to it on the radio. The event established the television in British life with many families acquiring their first sets specifically for the occasion.
Throughouther long reign the Queen has risen to challenges posed by enormous social change and technological progress, changes that could scarcely have been imagined on that February day in 1952. Since she became Queen, Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor has been a reassuring presence providing a sense of continuity in a quickly changing and sometimes uncertain world. She has served faithfully and unflinchingly through the good times and the bad and continues to fulfil her duties with a pace and dedication that one can only admire.
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