In 1066, William the Conqueror was the first monarch to be crowned in Westminster Abbey and, since then, nearly all the Kings and Queens have been crowned there. In 1937, Princess Elizabeth watched the coronation of her father King George VI – 16 years later, on 2nd June 1953, she was crowned Queen Elizabeth II.

It was the first coronation ever to be televised and about 27 million people in the UK watched it on live TV. More than 8,000 guests saw the coronation from inside Westminster Abbey, including heads of state from all around the world. The coronation ceremony was very traditional and dated back to 973. Elizabeth sat on a throne called St Edward’s Chair which was made in 1300 for Edward I and wore a crown made of solid gold which weighed over 2kg!

Many of the royal jewels are very old and have an interesting history. In 1216, King John apparently lost some of them in quicksand1 and, in 1339, Edward III pawned2 the royal crown to raise money to pay his soldiers. During WW2 they were hidden in a secret location which has never been revealed! Nowadays you can see the Crown jewels at the Tower of London.

 

Glossary

1 Quicksand: deep wet sand that sucks people into it.

2 Pawned: left a valuable object as security for money lent.

 

Let’s practice!

Answer keys

 

Illustration by Alida Massari, taken from The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain, Green Apple Step 1 (A2)