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  • Place of origin:

    Buckingham Palace (photographed)

  • Date:

    02/06/1953 (photographed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Beaton, Cecil (Sir), born 1904 - died 1980 (photographer)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed to the Museum in 1987 by Eileen Hose, secretary to the photographer

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case X, shelf 914, box D

Physical description

Photograph depicting Queen Elizabeth II on her Coronation day, 2nd June 1953. The new Queen is crowned (this crown is known as the Imperial State Crown) and although seen slightly from behind, we can see that she holds the orb and sceptre. Her face is seen in profile; her expression is calm and thoughtful. She is wearing a cloak of thick white and black fur. A painted backdrop depicts the grand latticed naves of Westminster Abbey (where the Coronation ceremony had taken place shortly before this sitting).

Place of Origin

Buckingham Palace (photographed)


02/06/1953 (photographed)


Beaton, Cecil (Sir), born 1904 - died 1980 (photographer)

Materials and Techniques


Marks and inscriptions

Written in blue biro on the reverse.


Width: 23.8 cm image, Height: 23.9 cm image, Width: 23.8 cm paper, Height: 23.9 cm paper

Descriptive line

Royal Portrait by Cecil Beaton (1904-1980). Photograph depicting Queen Elizabeth II, Coronation day, Buckingham Palace, 1953.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Strong, Roy C. Cecil Beaton: the royal portraits. London: Thames and Hudson, c1988. p. 136

Labels and date

Queen Elizabeth II
2 June 1953

This portrait echoes the centuries-old tradition of depicting rulers in profile on coins and medals. Dramatic lighting highlights the Queen’s youthful features. The prime minister, Winston Churchill, voiced the feelings of many when he described her as a metaphorical guardian angel: ‘the gleaming figure whom Providence has brought to us in times when the present is hard and the future veiled.’

Gelatin silver print
V&A: Ph.1540-1987

Production Note

Cecil Beaton photographed members of the royal family from 1930-1979.




Gelatin silver process


Photographs; Portraits; Royalty


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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