Today marks the 85th anniversary of one of the most important moments of the Queen’s life: the coronation of her parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. The ceremony cemented her place as Britain’s future monarch. The 11-year-old princess and her 6-year-old younger sister both attended the coronation, and over the years, I’ve gotten lots of questions about the small crowns they wore for the occasion.
The outfits worn by Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret for the coronation were, like the attire of all of the other guests present, dictated by the dress code established for the ceremony. The Royal Collection notes, “As princesses of the realm they wore dress as stipulated by the Earl Marshall, comprising of a cream dress with gold embellishment and purple robes.” You can see the tassels of the robes resting on Princess Elizabeth’s shoulders in this photo, taken on the balcony at Buckingham Palace following the coronation.
Per the dress code, both princesses also wore small crowns called coronets. “Their outfits were completed by silver-gilt coronets made by the Crown Jewellers, Garrard & Co. Ltd.,” the Royal Collection tells us. This is a photograph of one of the coronets, which feature fleur-de-lis and Maltese cross design elements. Garrard also added their signature “diamond and dot” pattern to the base of the piece. You’ll note the padding inside for stability and comfort.
The little princesses watched the ceremony from the front row of the royal box, surrounded by other members of their extended family.
Here, Princess Elizabeth consults with her grandmother, Queen Mary, about something on her program.
And here, Princess Margaret sits beside her aunt, Princess Mary. At the moment of their father’s crowning, the little princesses had also placed their coronets on their heads. Newspaper coverage of the ceremony noted, “Even Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret have now with the general crowning of the Peers put little golden coronets on their heads. Princess Margaret has difficulty in making hers feel comfortable, and she adjusts and readjusts it until at last she is satisfied.”
Here’s a closer view of Princess Elizabeth wearing her coronet and robes on the balcony at Buckingham Palace after the ceremony. She also wore a three-stranded pearl necklace, which had been a gift from her grandfather, the late King George V, when he celebrated his Silver Jubilee in 1935. She’s also wearing the Royal Family Orders of her father and her grandfather pinned to her dress.
And here’s little Margaret wearing her coronet on the balcony. She’s wearing a double-strand of pearls, also gifted to her by King George V to mark his Silver Jubilee two years earlier. Like her sister, she also wears the Royal Family Orders of both her father and her grandfather, but only her father’s portrait is visible above the edge of the balcony.