The Queen will become the longest-reigning monarch in British history this week, breaking the record set by her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria. Her Majesty, who accended to the throne at the age of 25, will have reigned for 63 years and seven months on Wednesday 9 September – her rule coinciding with a period of great change in the wake of the Second World War.
Queen Elizabeth II took the throne following the death of her father King George VI on 6 February 1952. She was proclaimed Queen shortly afterwards, but the coronation itself was delayed for more than a year because a traditional mourning period followed the death of the former King.
An estimated 27 million people watched the coronation take place on television on 2 June 1953, with a further 11 million tuning in to hear the ceremony on the radio. We spoke to two members of the Chelsea Pensioners, Ray Pearson and Fred Richardson, about their memories of the day.
The Royal Hospital Chelsea has provided a home for thousands of soldiers in their old age for 300 years. To find out about becoming a corporate patron or for fundraising initiatives, please visit the website.