2 JUNE 2003
Queen Elizabeth II had a packed schedule on Monday, as she celebrated the 50th anniversary of her coronation with a special Westiminster Abbey service and a colourful afternoon tea party with hundreds of young admirers.
The morning began as the Queen, accompanied by her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, arrived at Westminster Abbey for the first event marking the monarch's golden anniversary. Members of the royal family and around 1,000 well-wishers – including Lady Margaret Thatcher and Sir Edmund Hillary, whose Mt Everest conquest was reported on the same day as the 1953 coronation – looked on while the Queen renewed her vows 50 years to the day after she was first crowned.
Camilla Parker Bowles, who had been invited by the Queen to attend, arrived with her 86-year-old father Bruce Shand and was seated close to the royal party, but not with her companion, the Prince of Wales. Instead, Charles was seated alongside his elder son Prince William, who is celebrating his 21st birthday in three weeks. Prince Harry, 18, who is sitting his A-levels, was unable to attend.
Also present at the special service were the Duke of York, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Princess Royal and her husband Commodore Timothy Laurence, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke and Duchess of Kent, Princess Michael of Kent, and Princess Alexandra and husband Sir Angus Ogilvy.
This year's service was a more subdued affair than the Queen's Golden Jubilee festivities last June. The Queen's arrival and departure at Westminster Abbey were made by royal limousine, a contrast to last year's striking mode of transportation, an 18th-century horse-drawn gold coach.
The 50th anniversary festivities continued throughout Monday, with the Queen opening the Golden Jubilee Mall Extension to the Jubilee Walkway in London's St James's Park, and enjoying a Buckingham Palace tea party along with 500 underprivileged youth.
The day's celebrations will wrap up on Monday evening, with a gala dinner hosted by Prince Charles at Clarence House.