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The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II

On the 60th anniversary of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth ll, CPAC presents the complete, unedited coronation ceremony held in Westminster Abbey on June 2, 1953. Follow along here live (Sunday, June 2 at 10:15 am ET / 7:15 am PT) for a real-time multimedia look at the coronation!

  • Let's discuss the political elements of the coronation and the Queen's role in governing Canada.  Here's how Buckingham Palace describes her relationship with the Canadian people:

    The Queen has a unique relationship with Canada, entirely separate from her role as Queen of the United Kingdom or any of her other realms.

    As in all her realms, The Queen of Canada is a constitutional monarch, acting entirely on the advice of Canadian Government ministers. She is fully briefed by means of regular communications from her ministers, and has face-to-face audiences with them where possible.

    The Queen personifies the state and is the personal symbol of allegiance, unity and authority for all Canadians. Legislators, ministers, public services and members of the military and police all swear allegiance to The Queen. Elections are called and laws are promulgated in The Queen's name.

    The Queen is represented in Canada on a day-to-day basis by a Governor-General. He or she is appointed by The Queen on the advice of the ministers of Canada and is completely independent of the British Government.
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  • Also from Buckingham Palace:

    By the British North American Act of 1867, Canada became the first Dominion within the British Empire. This meant it was a country of the British Empire and later the Commonwealth, with autonomy in domestic and foreign affairs.

    The Act set out a constitution with the executive authority vested in the Sovereign, and carried on in her name by a Governor-General and Privy Council, with legislative power exercised by a Parliament of two Houses, a Senate and a House of Commons.

    The Act also united Upper and Lower Canada (now Ontario and Quebec), Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Over the following years other colonies and the Northwest Territories joined the Confederation, the last two being Newfoundland and Labrador in 1949, and Nunavut in

    In 1926, the Imperial Conference in London confirmed the status of Canada, along with that of Australia, the Irish Free State, New Zealand, South Africa and Newfoundland, as self-governing Dominions under the British Crown.

    The Statute of Westminster in 1931, an act of the British Parliament, gave legal form to this declaration. It gave Canada and other Dominions the authority to make their own laws.

    Powers of the King were gradually transferred to the Governor-General, culminating in 1947 with the Letters Patent Constituting the Office of Governor-General, which authorized the Governor-General to exercise all the powers of the Sovereign in Canada, on the advice of the Canadian government.

    There have been further constitutional changes in some of the Commonwealth realms during The Queen's reign.

    The UK Parliament's Canada Act of 1982 enacted constitutional amendments which enabled the British North America Act to be replaced. It laid down that the future amendment of the constitution should be the prerogative of Canada.

    Any change to the position of The Queen or her representatives in Canada now requires the unanimous consent of the Senate, the House of Commons and the assemblies of all the provinces.

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  • A quick point on the last paragraph from the previous post from Buckingham Palace. The bill recently passed by Parliament to formally agree to changes to British rules on royal succession and marriage did not require a constitutional amendment or provincial consultation, according to Ottawa.

    The changes would end the practice of allowing male heirs to bypass their older sisters in the line of succession. Heirs would also be able to marry a Roman Catholic and retain eligibility for the throne.

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other heads of Commonwealth governments agreed to the changes in principle at their 2011 meeting in Perth, Australia.

    The government pointed to the second paragraph in the 1931 Statute of Westminster, which requires the Dominion Parliaments (Canada, Australia, and New Zealand) to provide legislative assent for any changes to succession laws. The government also argued that succession laws are not part of the 1982 Constitution Act, and the Queen's duties, powers, and functions in Canada as found in Section 41a. In fact, there are no separate Canadian laws on succession; the King or Queen of the United Kingdom is accepted as the Canadian monarch.

    Read more on Bill C-53, which received Royal Assent on March 27:
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  • 3.55pm The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh arrive at Hyde Park Corner #Coronation60th
  • 4.00pm Marble Arch, usually closed to all traffic, opens to permit the State Procession to pass through #Coronation60th #60yearsagotoday
  • 4.35pm The Gold State Coach reaches Piccadilly Circus #coronation60th #60yearsagotoday
  • Another interesting fact from Buckingham Palace:

    The (British) Ministry of Food granted 82 applications for people to roast oxen, if they could prove that by tradition, an ox had been roasted at previous Coronations - a welcome concession in a country where the meat ration was two shillings a week.”
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  • The Queen appeared several times on the Buckingham Palace balcony after the procession ended.
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  • 24 RCAF Sabre jets joined 144 RAF planes for a flyover after the ceremony. Wing Commander J.D. Lindsey, from the RCAF station at North Luffenham in central England, led the Canadians.
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  • Here is a ticket  to view the procession from a bank building  near London's Green Park:

    Courtesy HSBC UK/Flickr
    by Andrew Thomsonon Jun 2, 2013 at 9:03 PM

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  • I'm watching the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II from 60 years ago on CPAC and find it quite fascinating. The announcer sounds just like the one from South Park when Will & Kate got married. I'm waiting for him to say 'As is tradition...'
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  • Photo from the Canadian Army Journal, July 1953. Provincial Archives of New Brunswick/MC300/DS49/36

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  • 9.45pm The Queen makes a third appearance on the balcony, and switches on London’s illuminations #Coronation60th #60yearsagotoday
  • Queen Elizabeth also took to the airwaves that evening to broadcast a statement (and introduced on radio by Churchill):

    When I spoke to you last, at Christmas, I asked you all, whatever your religion, to pray for me on the day of my Coronation - to pray that God would give me wisdom and strength to carry out the promises that I should then be making.

    Throughout this memorable day I have been uplifted and sustained by the knowledge that your thoughts and prayers were with me. I have been aware all the time that my peoples, spread far and wide throughout every continent and ocean in the world, were united to support me in the task to which I have now been dedicated with such solemnity.

    Many thousands of you came to London from all parts of the Commonwealth and Empire to join in the ceremony, but I have been conscious too of the millions of others who have shared in it by means of wireless or television in their homes. All of you, near or far, have been united in one purpose. It is hard for me to find words in which to tell you of the strength which this knowledge has given me.

    The ceremonies you have seen today are ancient, and some of their origins are veiled in the mists of the past. But their spirit and their meaning shine through the ages never, perhaps, more brightly than now. I have in sincerity pledged myself to your service, as so many of you are pledged to mine. Throughout all my life and with all my heart I shall strive to be worthy of your trust.

    In this resolve I have my husband to support me. He shares all my ideals and all my affection for you. Then, although my experience is so short and my task so new, I have in my parents and grandparents an example which I can follow with certainty and with confidence.

    There is also this. I have behind me not only the splendid traditions and the annals of more than a thousand years but the living strength and majesty of the Commonwealth and Empire; of societies old and new; of lands and races different in history and origins but all, by God's Will, united in spirit and in aim.

    Therefore I am sure that this, my Coronation, is not the symbol of a power and a splendour that are gone but a declaration of our hopes for the future, and for the years I may, by God's Grace and Mercy, be given to reign and serve you as your Queen.

    I have been speaking of the vast regions and varied peoples to whom I owe my duty but there has also sprung from our island home a theme of social and political thought which constitutes our message to the world and through the changing generations has found acceptance both within and far beyond my Realms.

    Parliamentary institutions, with their free speech and respect for the rights of minorities, and the inspiration of a broad tolerance in thought and expression - all this we conceive to be a precious part of our way of life and outlook.

    During recent centuries, this message has been sustained and invigorated by the immense contribution, in language, literature, and action, of the nations of our Commonwealth overseas. It gives expression, as I pray it always will, to living principles, as sacred to the Crown and Monarchy as to its many Parliaments and Peoples. I ask you now to cherish them - and practise them too; then we can go forward together in peace, seeking justice and freedom for all men.

    As this day draws to its close, I know that my abiding memory of it will be, not only the solemnity and beauty of the ceremony, but the inspiration of your loyalty and affection. I thank you all from a full heart. God bless you all.
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  • In Ottawa, Governor General Vincent Massey issued a message to Canadians. Excerpts:

    “The Queen has this day pledged herself not as a passive symbol, but as a living embodiment of our national heritage of law and of liberty, of humanity and of faith.”

    “During these times of stress and trouble, the Crown, unshaken by disaster has been ennobled through trial. And, therefore, as we have returned once and again to this ancient rite, we have found it enriched with an ever-deeper meaning.”

    “I need not remind you of how our two great Canadian races have together upheld the Crown and cherished the Sovereign. In our law which is the frame of our liberty, French and English names are as intricately mingled as are French and English customs and ideals.”
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  • The following day, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh drove through London's east end.
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  • The Queen's next tour of Canada would come in 1957.
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  • This concludes our live online coverage of the 1953 Coronation Replay. Thanks to everyone for watching and participating!

    Also watch CPAC tonight (9pm ET / 6pm PT) for the premiere of Homecoming: The Casualties of War.

    Back for another in-depth examination of Canada's military, Esprit De Corps publisher Scott Taylor examines the state of veterans' mental health. The hour-long documentary explores the impact of Afghanistan on the families of the fallen, those who suffered physical and mental wounds, and the public and private support put in place to assist them.

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  • Library and Archives Canada/K-0000044

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