Though Queen Elizabeth II inherited the throne from her father King George VI in 1952, it wasn’t until June 2nd 1953 that the young monarch was officially crowned at Westminster Abbey.
This means the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s coronation is just around the corner. Accordingly, the church – which still serves as the official coronation venue and resting place for the British royal family, alongside being one of London’s biggest tourist attractions – is commemorating the year with a special programme of events and exhibits.
While tourists won’t be able to join her Majesty, Prince Philip and other members of the royal family when they turn up for a celebratory service at the abbey next week, there’s still plenty for those staying in London hotels to enjoy.
Photography enthusiasts, regardless of whether or not they’re fans of the monarch, should be enticed by a stunning showcase of mid-20th century photojournalism in Coronation!, an exhibition of the best news pictures from the 1953 event.
Thanks to a collaboration with Getty Images over 40 images are on show, including iconic shots from Bert Hardy and John Chillingworth. The exhibition also chronicles the refurbishment undertaken at the abbey in the six months that preceded the coronation, ensuring that the venue met the royal family’s exacting requirements.
Visitors can also see 60 Chairs for 60 Years, a collection of scale-replica coronation chairs made in 1953 that includes silver charms, wooden and gold-plated miniatures.
Entry to the exhibitions is covered by Westminster Abbey’s general admission charge of £18 for adults and £15 for children. The abbey is open between 9:30am and 3:30pm every day except Sunday, when the venue is reserved for worship purposes.
Finally, musical fans can also attend a Gala Concert in celebration of the anniversary. Featuring the talents of the Westminster Abbey choir and organist, the programme includes pieces by Henry Purcell, Hubert Parry and George Frideric Handel. The concert takes place on June 13th and tickets start at £20.