June 2, 1953. Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom is crowned in Westminster Abbey. Her father, King George VI had died 16 months earlier, while Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip were on a visit in Kenya. Elizabeth II acceded the throne immediately after her father’s death but the coronation took place the following year to allow for organisers to plan the event. The coronation was televised and led to a massive jump in the number of television licenses issued. For some 20 million Britons the ceremony was their first taste of watching television. Around 100 million Americans are also thought to have seen a recording of the event. Queen Elizabeth II has been on the throne for 59 years, the second longest reign after Queen Victoria.
Also on June 2: the first of the Salem Witch Trials in Salem in the US state of Massachussetts (1692); Babe Ruth retires from baseball (1935); in a referendum Italians vote for a republic to replace the monarchy (1946).
Born on June 2: Marquis de Sade (1740), Thomas Hardy (1840), Johnny Weissmuller (1904), Mark and Steve Waugh (1965).
Back in the Day: Queen Elizabeth II crowned