UK service marks 60 years since queen's coronation
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip, left, arrive for service to celebrate the Queen's 60th anniversary of her coronation at Westminster Abbey, escorted by The Dean of the Abbey Dr John Hall in London, Tuesday, June 4, 2013. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
LONDON (AP) — Britain's royal family gathered at Westminster Abbey Tuesday for a ceremony of pomp and prayer to mark the 60th anniversary of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.
Elizabeth, now 87, was crowned in the abbey on June 2, 1953, in a ceremony laden with 1,000 years of tradition. British monarchs have been crowned in the ancient London church since William the Conqueror in 1066.
The queen's children and grandchildren were among 2,000 people attending Tuesday's anniversary service, which featured hymns, prayers, a reading from Prime Minister David Cameron and a poem written for the occasion by poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy.
Prince Philip arrives for a service to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the coronation of his wife, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, at Westminster Abbey, London, Tuesday, June 4, 2013. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, spiritual head of the Anglican church, told the congregation that the service celebrated the queen's "path of demanding devotion and utter self-sacrifice, a path she did not choose, yet to which she was called by God."
"Today we celebrate 60 years since that moment, 60 years of commitment," he said.
The service was carefully designed to evoke memories of 60 years ago.
The jewel-encrusted, golden St. Edward's Crown which the queen wore at her coronation sat on the High Altar — the first time it has left the Tower of London since 1953.
It was accompanied by a vial of aromatic oil, from the same batch used at the coronation, carried to the altar by representatives of the British people, including children and a school crossing guard.