The weather on the Coronation Day of Queen Elizabeth II

  • Figure 1: Synoptic chart from the 2nd June 1952 (Met Office, 2012)

    Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh from the balcony at Buckingham Palace on 2nd June 1953. Photo: PA Wire/Press Association Images

    Queen Elizabeth II, the Duke of Edinburgh and Royal family members at Buckingham Palace on 2nd June 1953. Photo: PA Wire/Press Association Images

    Figure 2: Synoptic map from latest Ensemble model run for 1200 2nd June 2012

  • The weather on the Coronation Day of Queen Elizabeth II
    26.05.2012 13:26


    Next weekend marks the 60th year of the Queen’s reign, the Diamond Jubilee. On Tuesday 2nd of June 1953, Queen Elizabeth II was crowned at Westminster Abbey, although she succeeded to the Throne on the 6th February 1952 when King George VI died. The service began at 11.15 am and finished at 2.00 pm, but what was the weather like?

    The weather on the Coronation Day, for lack of a better word, was rubbish. The UK was sandwiched between high pressure situated over the Atlantic Ocean and a low pressure system positioned over Germany and the Low Countries, as illustrated in figure 1. Across eastern areas it was overcast throughout the day.

    A few spots of rain developed during the morning and then became heavier and more persistent through the day, this lead to 68.3mm of rainfall begin recorded at Uswayford, Northumberland. It was also rather cloudy in western areas, but sunny spells developed during the afternoon.

    It was a cold day with the UK maximum temperature of only 14.4C being recorded at Calshot, Hampshire. In London, where the ceremony was held, temperatures only reached a maximum of 11.7C. This contrasted significantly to the previous week, when temperatures reached 31.7C on the Whit Monday Holiday.

    The average maximum temperature for June ranges from 14.5C in the Scottish Highlands, to 20.4C at Heathrow, illustrating how chilly it was for the time of year. In addition to this, the afternoon temperature failed to reach above 12C, which was several degrees lower than the Queen’s wedding day six years previously in November. 

    The weather has continued to affect the Queen’s celebrations during her reign. The Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977 occurred during one of the wettest and coldest Junes in the twentieth century. However, the rain held off during her Golden Jubilee in 2002, but it did remain largely cloudy.  So what will it be like for her Diamond Jubilee next weekend?

    Currently, the forecast models are suggesting a fairly similar pattern to the one that occurred in 1952 on the Queen’s Coronation Day with low pressure positioned to the east and high pressure to the west. However, high pressure will be closer to the UK on Saturday resulting in drier conditions, as illustrated in figure 2.

    It will be cooler than last weekend with temperatures closer to the seasonal averages, temperatures peaking between 17 and 21 Celsius in the south. It is expected to be coolest in eastern and northern areas but many areas will see some sunshine. 

    However, by Sunday there could be rain approaching from the southwest, and this may spread across the southern third of Britain during Sunday. At the moment its northern extent is highly uncertain. Farther north there should be some more sunshine on Sunday with just the odd shower here and there.

    MeteoGroup would like to congratulate Queen Elizabeth II on her 60 years of reign and wish her luck for the future.

    By: Sally Webb