Today in history: The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II on June 2nd, 1953

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Queen Elizabeth II's Accession in 1952


On June 2nd, 1953, Elizabeth Alexandra Mary started her tenure as the longest-reigning monarch in British history.

Queen Elizabeth II almost didn't become queen. She was third in line to the throne when she was born behind her uncle, King Edward VIII, and her father, The Duke of York. Her fate changed when her uncle decided to abdicate his position in order to marry Wallis Simpson, an American divorcee. On December 11th, 1936, Edward explained to the world via radio broadcast his decision and immediately the kingdom went to his younger brother Prince Albert, Duke of York, who succeeded to the throne as George VI.

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Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II on June 2, 1953
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Today in history: The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II on June 2nd, 1953
The royal carriage of Queen Elizabeth II passes along Victoria Embankment on its way to Westminster Abbey, on June 02, 1953, during the ceremony of coronation of the Queen. The Queen was solemnly crowned at Westminster Abbey in London. (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II poses with the royal sceptre 02 June 1953 after being crowned solemnly at Westminter Abbey in London. Elizabeth was proclaimed Queen in 1952 at age 25. (Photo credit should read STF/AFP/Getty Images)
(FILES) Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (L) accompanied by Prince Philip waves to the crowd, 02 June 1953, after being crowned solemnly at Westminter Abbey in London. Queen Elizabeth II was set Thursday 20 December 2007, to become the oldest monarch, overtaking her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria amid signs the royal family is preparing for life after 81-year-old 'Lillibet'. Victoria died in 1901 aged 81 years and 243 days, and Elizabeth will mark passing the milestone with neither pomp nor ceremony, spending the day as usual with her husband of 60 years, Prince Philip. AFP PHOTO/FILES (Photo credit should read STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)
Queen's Guards marching along Pall Mall as part of Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation procession, London, 2nd June 1953. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
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Elizabeth's father reigned until his death in February 1952. She immediately became the new monarch and performed the duties of the sovereign, but did not have her official coronation until the following spring because the nation was in a period of mourning.

The 25-year-old mother had a glamorous ceremony at Westminster Abbey. Her coronation was the first to be televised, making her an instant cultural icon across the world. An estimated three million spectators in London viewed the pageantry in person.

Queen Elizabeth celebrated her Diamond Jubilee in 2012, marking the 60th anniversary of her ascension to the throne.

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