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The Coronation of Queen Victoria

Princess Victoria became Queen at the age of eighteen when King William IV died on 20 June 1837

Victoria had known she would become Queen from an early age as her uncles, King George IV and King William IV, had no surviving legitimate children.

Queen Victoria’s Coronation was planned for 28 June 1838 and was much more of a grand and public occasion than the austere ceremony insisted upon by King William IV in 1831.

It was decided that Queen Victoria would drive from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey in full State procession.

Around 400,000 people lined the streets to see the Coronation procession travel through London and the Queen, in the Gold State Coach pulled by eight cream horses, was overwhelmed by the crowds who had gathered to see her.

On her arrival at Westminster Abbey, Queen Victoria was led in by her Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne, who carried the Sword of State, and was followed by eight train-bearers. 

The ceremony lasted five hours and did not go completely according to plan; the most notable difficulty concerned the Coronation ring which, as the Queen recorded in her journal, “The Archbishop had (most awkwardly) put the ring on the wrong finger, the consequence being that I had the greatest difficulty in taking it off again, which I at last succeeded in doing, but not without great pain”.

Following the ceremony, the Queen travelled back to Buckingham Palace through even larger crowds and after dinner she went out on to the balcony to watch the fireworks in Green Park until after midnight.

Queen Victoria later wrote in her journal that she would “ever remember this day as the proudest in my life”.