This summer marks the 60th anniversary of one of the most momentous occasions in 20th-century, the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. The Coronation took place in Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953. It was a solemn ceremony conducted by Dr Geoffrey Fisher, Archbishop of Canterbury. The ceremony was broadcast on radio around the world and, at The Queen’s request, on television for the first time. An estimated 3 million people lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the new Queen, at Buckingham Palace.
To mark the anniversary of the event, a major exhibition for the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace will bring together for the first time since Coronation Day, a spectacular array of dress, uniform and robes worn by the principal royal party. Works of art, paintings and objects used on the day will also be on display to recreate the atmosphere of that extraordinary occasion.
The exhibition (27 July-29 September 2013) reveals some of the most beautiful and expertly designed dresses and robes ever made, detailing their ownership and history, and this extensive collection is the first time these items have brought together since the coronation itself.
Gold-mounted, enamelled and jewelled ivory pen, used by The Queen at the Coronation in 1953. The pen is in the form of an ivory quill, with a gold central vane and nib; a representation of the Sword of State – which is borne before the Sovereign as she proceeds to the altar to sign the Coronation oath – forms the rib of the quill. Over this is placed a jewelled and enamelled crown supported by two cherubs (representing Prince Charles and Princess Anne). On either side of the sword’s hilt are the letters E.R. The shaft is applied with the coat of arms and motto of the Scriveners’ Company (Litera Scripta Manet – ‘The written word remains’), and enamelled red and white roses. The back of the pen carries a presentation inscription, ‘To Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. Presented by the Company of Scriveners. Coronation Day 1953.’ (Source Royal Collection)
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