Coronation Day, London, England, June 2 1953
This image shows the Canadian Coronation Contingent participating in the event.
This Canadian Coronation Contingent, only the second ever assembled, was a guard of honour
formed from the Canadian Armed Forces and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). The Contingent
comprised some 900 members: a street-lining component consisting of 425 personnel,
and a marching component. The red serge jackets of the RCMP personnel, part of the marching component,
stand out in the centre of the procession. The red flag being carried in front of the RCMP
is probably the Canadian Red Ensign; the Maple Leaf flag did not come into use until 1965.
It is likely that the three blocks of troops following them are members of
the Canadian army, navy and air force. Other members of the Canadian Coronation Contingent line
the street where the procession is passing by.
The image was taken from the roof of the building
adjacent to Canada House on Cockspur Street, London. Canada House is the location of
the Canadian High Commission. Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square is off-camera to the left.
The procession is emerging from Whitehall, in the far right, and therefore is returning
from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace after the coronation ceremony. The almost
deserted street in the left distance is Northumberland Avenue.
National Archives of Canada, Reference number R112-2701-9-E
For an account of what it was like to participate in the event, from one of the steet-lining troops, see:
Shelford, R. H. (2003) Lining Coronation Street. Legion Magazine, May 1 2003 issue.
For an account of the participation of the marching contingent, see:
Appleton, Ross, and Len Delaney. The Queen's Coronation, 02 June 1953: 2 RCR and the Crowning of a Queen.
For another discussion of the event, setting the historical and social context
and including an interview with Len Delaney and pictures of him in uniform
then and now, see
Queen Elizabeth's 1953 coronation, a 'madhouse on the streets'
Elizabeth II ascended the throne on February 6 1952, on the death of her father, George VI.
She was crowned on June 2 1953. The coronation took place over a year after her ascent
to the throne to allow for an interval of mourning for the previous monarch and
for planning for the ceremony.
For more information, see Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.
In May 2012, fifteen members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police took part in ceremonies
in London marking the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Celebrations commemorating sixty years on
the throne. The highlights included taking part in the 'Changing of the Guard' ceremony on
May 23 and being responsible for guarding
the Queen at Buckingham Palace on
May 23 and May 25. The RCMP contingent included women, the first time that women had
taken part in the 'Changing of the Guard' ceremony. It was also the first time that a non-British
non-military unit had been given this assignment.