Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Salute to a Golden Queen; Westminster Abbey Hosts 1,000 Guests for Anniversary of 1953 Coronation

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Salute to a Golden Queen; Westminster Abbey Hosts 1,000 Guests for Anniversary of 1953 Coronation

Article excerpt

Byline: ROBERT JOBSON;PATRICK SAWER

THERE were a few drops of rain, but not the downpour of 50 years ago.

And the Queen arrived in a bombproof limousine rather than the gold state coach and horses.

But, though low-key compared with the pomp of her Coronation on 2 June, 1953, today's service commemorating the anniversary held a special significance for all involved.

The Queen was driven, amid heightened security due to fears of an al Qaeda attack, with Prince Philip from Buckingham Palace to the west door of Westminster Abbey.

There, 1,000 members of the public and distinguished guests were waiting to hear a reworking of the Queen's commitment to God, the Crown and her people.

In a marked departure from the original service today's congregation was invited to join in the words as they were delivered.

It was a service that marked not only a key moment in her long reign, but the warm relationship enjoyed by the monarch and her subjects.

Among the congregation were 34 "Coronation babies" born on 2 June, 1953, for whom today was a personal, as well as public celebration.

With them at the Abbey were 16 senior members of the royal family, politicians and dignitaries.

On her arrival the Queen, wearing a canary yellow jacket and skirt and carrying a patent leather handbag, was greeted by the Dean of Westminster, Dr Wesley Carr.

A fanfare heralded her arrival before she walked up the aisle, Prince Philip at her side, to take her place next to the Prince of Wales, Prince William and Prince Andrew.

As the Queen walked slowly through the Abbey she was watched by William, who celebrates his 21st birthday this month. His brother Harry, preparing for A-levels at Eton, was unable to attend.

The hymn All People That On Earth Do Dwell filled the great space of the Abbey, then Dr Carr reminded those gathered of the Queen's affirmation 50 years ago and its continuing relevance today.

He said: "Let us express our thanks for 50 years of service by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II."

Some of the older royals, such as the Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra had attended the Coronation itself, which came 16 months after the Queen acceded to the throne following the death of her father George VI. …

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