Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II acceded to the Throne on 6th February 1952 following the death of her father, King George VI.
At the time she and her husband Prince Philip were staying at Treetops Hotel in Kenya and it was he who had to break the news to her that her father had died. There was at the time a now oft mentioned quote 'She went to bed a princess, and awoke a queen.'
The crowning of the Sovereign is an ancient ceremony, rich in religious significance, historic associations and pageantry. For the last 900 years, it has taken place at Westminster Abbey as the royal church for the Palace of Westminster. Before the Abbey was built, Coronations were carried out wherever was convenient, for example at Bath, Oxford and Canterbury.
When Queen Elizabeth II was crowned on 2nd June 1953 she became the 39th Sovereign and 6th Queen to be crowned at Westminster Abbey. Although the 3 hour ceremony was steeped in history, for the new Queen many parts of the day were markedly different from previous occasions. In particular and at the insistence of the Queen herself, her Coronation was the first to be televised. Indeed it was the world's first major international event to be broadcast on television.
Attended by a total of 8,251 guests representing 129 nations and territories, this was an enormous occasion. An estimated 3 million spectators gathered in the streets of London, along a route lined with sailors, soldiers, and airmen and women from across the Commonwealth.
The Coronation was celebrated around the world and in British Virgin Islands, a Dr Norwell Harrigan (himself commemorated as part of a set of BVI stamps issued in 1993) who became an Author and Academic was appointed Coordinator of the British Virgin Island celebrations which saw the re-introduction of Carnival in the Territory in 1953. Also known as the Emancipation Festival, this Carnival has now become the largest annual event held in the British Virgin Islands and celebrates the 1834 emancipation Act.
Still an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom but enjoying significant self-determination, the British Virgin Islands recognises the Queen as Head of State and she has visited the Islands on two occasions, 1966 and 1977 (the year of her Silver Jubilee Celebrations).
The issue consists of four stamps 20c, 50c, $1.50 and $2 all denominated in US Currency.
20c – Depicts Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness Prince Philip in Buckingham Palace at the time of the Coronation in 1953.
50c – Shows Her Majesty and Prince Philip in British Virgin Islands on their first visit in 1966. Her Majesty is shown talking to Mr Wilmoth Hamm and in the foreground the little girl holding the bouquet is Persia Stoutt, daughter of H Lavity Stoutt, the first and longest serving Chief Minister of BVI. Miss Stoutt grew up to be a major and respected figure in local politics.
$1.50 – Shows Her Majesty on an informal 'walkabout' during her second visit to the British Virgin Islands in 1977.
$2.00 – Depicts a contemporary photograph of Her Majesty and Prince Philip attending a service of celebration to mark the 60th anniversary of her Coronation at Westminster Abbey on June 4, 2013.
The first day cover envelope carries a photograph of Her Majesty being escorted by the then Administrator, Martin Stavely in 1966.