Is This Queen Elizabeth II on Her Coronation Day in 1953?

Princess Elizabeth became queen at age 25, after the death of her father, King George VI.

  • Published
Queen Elizabeth II died on Sept. 8, 2022.
Image via Royal Collection Trust

Claim

A colored photograph shows 27-year-old Queen Elizabeth II on the day of her coronation in 1953.

Fact Check

Queen Elizabeth II was laid to rest on the grounds of Windsor Castle on Sept. 19, 2022. After a week of mourning in the United Kingdom and beyond, and numerous rumors surrounding her death, a number of images of the queen went viral. 

One in particular claimed to be a photograph from the day of her coronation in 1953. The image was in color and depicted the queen sitting down while wearing a crown and holding a scepter and orb.

This photograph is indeed a real image of the queen and can also be found in the archives of the Royal Collection Trust. Taken by Cecil Beaton, the photograph is described thus: 

Colour transparency of Queen Elizabeth II (b.1926) on her Coronation day. She is seated facing left and looks towards the camera. She holds the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross in her right hand and Orb in her left. She is wearing an embroidered and beaded dress by Norman Hartnell (1901-1979), a crimson velvet mantle edged with ermine fur, the Coronation ring, the Coronation necklace and the Imperial State Crown. She poses against a backdrop depicting the interior of Westminster Abbey.

The queen was around 27 years old at the time of her coronation, which took place on June 2, 1953, following the death of her father, King George VI. Beaton was known for his photographs of the British royal family, covering significant occasions in their lives. According to the Victoria and Albert Museum, where his archive of royal portraits reside, he attended the coronation and prepared the official portraits afterward:

Cecil Beaton attended the ceremony, along with 8,000 other guests. He sat in a balcony close to the pipes of the great organ, recording his impression of the glorious pageant in animated prose and black ink sketches. After the ceremony he returned to the Palace to make final preparations for the official portrait sitting.

The portrait can also be seen in this post on the museum’s official website.

Sources:

“Explore the Royal Collection Online.” Royal Collection Trust. https://www.rct.uk/collection/search#/3/collection/2153177/queen-elizabeth-ii-b-1926nbspon-her-coronation-day. Accessed 19 Sept. 2022.

“King Charles III Leaves Note on Coffin of His Mom, Queen Elizabeth II.” ABC News, https://goodmorningamerica.com/news/story/king-charles-iii-leaves-note-coffin-mom-queen-90143980. Accessed 19 Sept. 2022.

“No, the Queen Did Not Request That Trump Be Banned from Her Funeral.” Snopes.Com, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/queen-trump-banned-funeral/. Accessed 19 Sept. 2022.

“Cecil Beaton: Royal Photographer.” Victoria and Albert Museum, https://www.vam.ac.uk/articles/cecil-beaton-royal-photographer. Accessed 19 Sept. 2022.