Priceless crown stars at Queen Elizabeth's 60th anniversary

Tue Jun 4, 2013 12:40pm EDT
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By Stephen Addison

LONDON (Reuters) - A fanfare of trumpets and cheering crowds greeted Queen Elizabeth on the 60th anniversary of her coronation on Tuesday, with a service in Westminster Abbey featuring a priceless crown that has adorned the heads of British monarchs for 350 years.

Decorated with rubies, sapphires and amethysts, the golden St Edward's crown was made for the coronation of Charles II in 1661 and has been used to crown every British monarch since.

Together with a golden, eagle-shaped bottle containing the holy oil for anointing, it took pride of place beside the altar for the historic service.

For Elizabeth, 87, it was a return to the scene of her coronation when, at age 27, she ascended the throne upon the death of her father, King George VI.

Jubilant throngs and trumpets heralded the arrival of a monarch who has seen 12 prime ministers during her reign - from Winston Churchill to David Cameron.

The service was attended by all the senior British royals including the Queen's 91-year-old husband Prince Philip, who had had to withdraw from an engagement the previous day with an unspecified ailment.

Heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles, Prince William and his pregnant wife Kate and Cameron were among 2,000 guests in the Abbey, the site of coronations for nearly 1,000 years.

While coronation day in 1953 was dull and rainy, bright sunshine poured through the stained glass windows of the soaring gothic edifice during Tuesday's service.   Continued...

St Edward's Crown, which hasn't been outside the Tower of London for 60 years, is displayed during a service celebrating the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth's coronation at Westminster Abbey in London June 4, 2013. REUTERS/Jack Hill/Pool