"the coronation at which they dived for coins"

Queen Victoria was crowned on 28th June 1838 at Westminster Abbey, a year after she had inherited the throne of Great Britain. As with all coronations of British monarchs, the Archbishop of Canterbury held the ceremony, at which were present Members of the Houses of Parliament, state, church and royal officials. The coronation oath was taken, the queen seated in King Edward’s chair and the crown placed upon her head, the orb and sceptres in her hands. After this, homage was paid by the Archbishop and officials before a Holy Communion. Unfortunately, the coronation ring which was made for Victoria’s little finger was forced onto her fourth finger by the Archbishop and had to be bathed in iced water later before it could be removed.

At her coronation, Queen Victoria wore a robe of velvet and ermine and the train was carried by eight young ladies dressed in white satin. A magnificent procession brought the Queen to the Abbey from Buckingham Palace and back again, and the way was lined with crowds who had turned out to glimpse the new Queen. Commemorative medals or coins are usually issued on occasions such as coronations and jubilees and would have been thrown to the waiting crowds during the procession as memorabilia.

Read a full account of the coronation and Victoria’s early years as Queen in an 1868 account written by James Parton. Below, a clip of the coronation scene from the 2009 film The Young Victoria.