Britain’s Queen Elizabeth on Tuesday celebrated the 60th anniversary of her coronation with much fanfare, with a service in Westminster Abbey featuring a priceless crown that has adorned the heads of British monarchs for three and a half centuries.
The golden St. Edward crown which is decorated with rubies, sapphires and amethysts was made for the coronation of Charles II in 1661 and has been used to crown every British monarch since.
Elizabeth now 87 was crowned at the age of 27 after her father King George VI died. She is one of the longest serving monarchs alive and has seen 12 prime ministers during her reign from Winston Churchill to David Cameron. The heir to the throne Prince Charles, Prince William and his pregnant wife Kate were among the 2,000 guest in the Abbey which has been the site of coronations for nearly 1,000 years.
In 1953 when Elizabeth was crowned millions of Britons gathered around their television sets to watch the proceedings. It was a rare occasion that gave Britain a chance to celebrate in the bleak years after World War Two. Elizabeth’s coronation was the 38th to take place at the Abbey, a tradition launched in 1066 by William the Conqueror who was the first Norman King of England.
The ceremony on Tuesday also marked another milestone for Elizabeth as she inches closer towards Queen Victoria’s record as Britain’s longest serving monarch. Victoria served for more than 63 years and 7 months before her death in 1901.