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Queen Victoria’s Coronation

Victoria’s coronation on June 28, 1838 was a grand occasion. Spectators from all over the country flocked to London to see the huge coronation procession as the young queen was carried in a gilded coach from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey. The ceremony itself was a five-hour affair marked by several mishaps: the Archbishop of Canterbury jammed the coronation ring made for Victoria’s pinky on the wrong finger, and the elderly Lord Rolle fell down the steps as he tried to pay homage to the new monarch. Lord Rolle was unhurt, but Victoria noted in her diary, “I had the greatest difficulty in taking [the ring] off again, which I at last succeeded in doing, but not without great pain.” After the ceremony, festivities continued with a state dinner and fireworks.

Special Collections preserves a number of items and memorabilia from Victoria’s coronation, including this original ticket to the ceremony and commemorative souvenirs like the one below, which shows the coronation ring, crown, and other regalia used in the ceremony. The top image is from an 18-foot lithographed panorama of the coronation procession published by W. Soffe. The coach is still used for state occasions by the British royal family!


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