Coronation of Queen Victoria 1838

Crowning Glory: A Look at Royal Coronations

Coronations are grand ceremonies steeped in tradition and have been an important part of British history for centuries. The coronation usually takes place at Westminster Abbey in London and involves a series of rituals and processions that symbolize the monarch’s authority and power. The coronation is a time for celebration and pageantry, with thousands of people from all over the world coming to witness the historic event.

With the recent coronation of King Charles III on May 6th, it got me wondering about the coronations of previous monarchs. It has been almost 70 years since the world has witnessed one of these lavish affairs. How did old newspapers cover these extravagant events?

Let’s take a look at some interesting facts and newspapers highlighting past coronations.

Elizabeth II – Coronation June 2, 1953
Elizabeth’s coronation was the first to be televised, with an estimated 27 million people in the UK tuning in to watch the broadcast. The coronation regalia included the St. Edward’s Crown, which weighs almost five pounds and is set with over 400 precious stones. Read “Queen in Priceless White Satin Gown” and “London is Gripped by Holiday Spirit of Great Occasion” HERE.

Elizabeth II Coronation
George VI Coronation

George VI – Coronation May 12, 1937
George’s coronation was the first to be broadcast on the radio, with an estimated 20 million people in the UK tuning in to listen the broadcast. The coronation regalia included the Imperial State Crown, which weighs almost three pounds and is set with almost 3,000 diamonds. Read “Millions Jam Parade Route” HERE.

Edward VIII
Ascended to the Throne January 20, 1936
Edward’s coronation never took place. He ascended to the throne on January 20, 1936, after his father’s death. He abdicated the throne on December 11, 1936, before his coronation could take place. Edward’s coronation was scheduled to take place on May 12, 1937, the same date as his brother George VI’s coronation. Read “Assumes Sovereignty Over One-Fourth of the People of the World” HERE.

Edward VIII Ascends to Throne
George V Coronation

George V – Coronation June 22, 1911
George’s coronation was originally scheduled for the previous year, but was postponed due to the King’s ill health. The coronation was the first to be filmed, with newsreel footage capturing the procession to and from Westminster Abbey. It was a lavish affair, with more than 8,000 guests in attendance at a banquet held at Buckingham Palace following the ceremony. Read “King George and Queen Mary are Crowned with Pomp and Ceremony” HERE.

Edward VII – Coronation August 9, 1902
Much like his son’s coronation, Edward’s was postponed due to health issues. As a symbolic gesture, Edward wore the robes of Order of the Garter that his father, Prince Albert, had worn to the coronation of his mother, Queen Victoria. Read “The Coronation” HERE.

Edward VII Coronation
Victoria Coronation

Victoria – Coronation June 28, 1838
Victoria was only 18 years old when she was crowned queen. Her coronation was the first to be held in Westminster Abbey since the coronation of Charles II in 1661. During the coronation, Victoria famously refused to take off her crown, despite the discomfort it caused her. This led to a tradition in which monarchs wear a lighter crown during the procession through the streets of London after the coronation ceremony. Read “The Coronation” HERE.

The lives of royal families have graced the front pages of newspapers around the world. Be sure to read our royal blog posts: The Life of Queen Elizabeth Captured in Newspapers, The Wedding of the Century, and The Biggest Royal Family News and Scandals of the 1900s, and dig up more royal news in our collection at NewspaperArchive.

Written by: Heather Haunert