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If you step out onto The Mall this week it might be busier than usual. It won’t, however, contain the estimated three million exuberant spectators who lined the streets along the Coronation route 60 years ago.
On 2 June 1953, Queen Elizabeth II left Buckingham Palace for Westminster Abbey to be officially crowned, more than a year after her accession to the throne. In eager anticipation of a personal glimpse of the Queen on her way to the Coronation ceremony, many had camped up to two days in advance to secure their spot on the pavement and be a part of the great occasion.
The Coronation received vast media coverage, not least as the first ceremony to be broadcast on television, bringing royalty into the homes of millions worldwide.
The event was also documented photographically, including official portraits by Cecil Beaton, and candid photographs by Fleet Street press and freelancers such Bob Collins whose work is in the Museum of London collections. Celebrations ran beyond central London of course, to include thousands of street parties in the capital and nationwide. Photographs of these events, many made by amateur photographers, captured the extensive preparations undertaken and the upbeat, merry atmosphere amidst all the Union Jack flags and bunting.