Technically, Elizabeth Windsor became the Queen of England as soon as her father, King George VI died on February 2 of 1952. But until her actual coronation – a lengthy religious ceremony held in Westminster Abbey – took place more than a year later.
This was necessary for political and religious purposes – without this apparently meaningless ceremony, the divine right of kings (well, queens in this case), would fall by the wayside, and that would just be unacceptable. Elizabeth has now been the Queen long enough to have become the third longest reigning English monarch.
We Didn’t Start The Fire – Billy Joel