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The Coronation of Edward VII

As the eldest son of Queen Victoria, King Edward VII inherited the throne on her death in January 1901

The King was 59 years old at the time of accession and although he had led a somewhat scandalous social life as Prince of Wales, he was a popular Sovereign.

Therefore the Coronation of King Edward VII and his consort, Queen Alexandra, due to be held on 26 June 1902, was widely anticipated by the public.

Preparations for the Coronation were in their final stages and Royal guests were arriving in London when King Edward VII became extremely ill.

Very reluctantly the King was forced to cancel the Coronation ceremony and following a successful operation and a period of convalescence, mostly spent aboard the royal yacht, HMY Victoria and Albert, the Coronation was rescheduled for 9 August.

Despite the fact he was still recovering from such a serious illness, King Edward VII refused to make any concessions to his role, other than to slightly shorten the actual Coronation service. 

Crowds lined the streets as the King and Queen made their way to Westminster Abbey in the Gold State Coach, while the procession and guests in the Abbey included representatives from all corners of the British Empire, which had expanded beyond recognition since the Coronation of Queen Victoria in 1838.

King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra were crowned by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Frederick Temple, who was 80 years old and nearly blind.

The service was written on large cards so that he could see the words, but even then the Archbishop misread some of them and he also struggled to place the crown on the King’s head, almost placing it the wrong way round.

The finale of the Coronation was King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra’s appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to the cheering crowds below, thus inaugurating a Royal tradition which continues to this day.