Under the clear blue skies of early summer sunshine – Coronation Day June 2, 1953, was cloudy and gray – the 55-minute service brought the Royals together – including Prince Philip, 91, who was a welcome sight after he sat out a Monday evening engagement because he didn’t feel well.
For the occasion, mom-to-be Kate wore a bespoke soft-peach silk jacket and dress (with silver grey ribbon detail) by Jenny Packham, with a Jane Taylor nude beaded cocktail hat with silk tulle, organza discs and smoked quartz detail (cost: $1,200) that she also wore at last year’s Diamond Jubilee celebration on the Buckingham Palace balcony.
Shortly after pulling up to the Abbey’s Great West Door, William walked slightly ahead of Kate down the aisle as she was escorted by his brother Prince Harry.
Taking their seats, Kate and William chatted with their cousins Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, as well as Zara Phillips and her husband Mike Tindall.
Sitting in prime seats in the Abbey, sea cadets Hannah Subit, 17, and Jessica Burton, 17, could barely believe that Kate, 8-months-pregnant, “was wearing heels!” exclaimed Burton.
“She really carried it off,” added Subit. “She looked really good.”
The Dean of Westminster, the Very Rev Dr. John Hall, opened the service, saying the congregation of 2,000 had gathered to thank Her Majesty for “the faithful ministry and dutiful service.”
Also on display: the Queen’s coronation crown. Solid gold and diamond-laden, the St. Edward’s Crown was brought to the Abbey from the Tower of London and placed on the altar for the service.
Weighing nearly five lbs., the priceless object rested next to Ampulla, the gold-shaped bottle containing the holy oils used in the coronation.