Queen celebrates 60th anniversary of coronation

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The Queen marked the 60th anniversary of her coronation with a ceremony in Westminster Abbey, where her reign began in 1953. A host of Royal personages assembled to listen to the new Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby deliver the sort of sycophantic homily that would have set his illustrious predecessor Thomas Becket spinning in his tomb.

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Welby recalled the Queen's coronation in portentous phrases. "Her Majesty knelt at the beginning of a path of demanding devotion and utter self-sacrifice, a path she did not choose, yet to which she was called by God." This was verging on accepting the divine right of monarchs, a notion that Parliament disabused royalty of back in the 17th century by lopping off the head of the Queen's ancestor Charles I.

Welby had more. "Today we celebrate 60 years since that moment, 60 years of commitment." As opposed to doing the monarch's job part-time, or as a job-share? Once the Archbishop had delivered his sententious verbiage, the event became a little less pompous, with sitcom star Claire Skinner reading a new poem by the laureate Carol Ann Duffy.

The ceremony made an attempt to reflect the vastly changed nature of Britain from the grey postwar country of 1953. The coronation was a ritualistic Anglican anointing of the monarch. The 2013 ceremony saw representatives of Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, Sikhism and other faiths in attendance.

The occasion provoked a few gentle reminiscences from one of the original maids of honour Lady Jane Rayne Lacey. After the 1953 Coronation she remembered a young Prince Charles eyeing up the crown in Buckingham Palace drawing room. "I saw this sweet, chubby little figure reaching towards it with his arms outstretched," Lady Jane remembered. "I think he wanted to pick it up and put it on his own head."

Sixty years later, he's still waiting to get his grasping hands on it.

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