Proof of this is the fact that there was not worldwide satellite television coverage when Elizabeth received her crown June 2, 1953. The Queen went on radio to promise “Throughout all my life and with all my heart I shall strive to be worthy of your trust.”
The coronation ceremony itself was televised by the BBC and that organization estimated viewership at more than 20 million. But that was just in Britain. The BBC film made it to the New World the old fashion way. Telstar still was nine years away.
The BBC points out that the undeveloped film of the event went by motorcycle to Heathrow Airport. The plan was to develop the film in flight.An NBC craft took off but developed mechanical trouble and had to return. It was a Royal Air Force aircraft that brought the film to Newfoundland where a Canadian Air Force crew flew the now developed film to Montreal where Canadian television aired the ceremony and patched the feed into New York where both ABC and NBC aired the signal.
The film was in color, but the televisions were black and white then. The ceremony began to air in mid-afternoon in the eastern United States. CBS aired its own film brought in directly to New York.
Elizabeth actually became queen in February 1952 when her father, George VI died. The coronation was held more than a year later to respect a period of mourning.
The young Elizabeth looked tiny amid all the pomp in Westminster Abby. She was clothed in a gold robe that appeared too big for her when she received the crown from the Archbishop of Canterbury. She was only 26. Her country was at war in Korea along with other United Nations forces. The Cold War was at its peak. Yet the television showed a strong woman who spoke clearly and directly as she promised to serve her country.
The Queen has managed to evolve along with the technology. The A.M. Costa Rica news services say that Paul McCartney and Elton John were among those who participated with her in festivities Monday.
The Queen lit a symbolic torch during a ceremony in London. The London beacon was the last of 4,200 hundred torches and bonfires lit all day Monday across Britain and the Commonwealth, starting with New Zealand and Tonga.