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Respecting the tradition that foreign heads of state do not attend the coronation of a monarch, the European sovereigns stood away of London on the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Only the Commonwealth sovereigns were invited, as were the Prime Ministers from the countries where the Queen still was Head of State. If the European royals arrived in a modest convoy of royal cars, the Commonwealth leaders marked the day with their arrival in open and closed landaus. The most popular of all, was HM Queen Salote Tupou III of Tonga, an impressive woman who conquered the crowds and the royals, as confirmed by Princess Astrid of Norway: “Queen Salote became everyone's darling, despite the fact that she was the tallest woman I have ever seen, more than two metres. But beautiful, and a wonderful person.” She arrived and left the Abbey in a landau with one of the other sovereigns invited, which were the Sultan of Zanzibar, the Sultan of Johore, the Sultan of Selangor, the Sultan of Kalantan, the Sultan of Perak, the Sultan of Brunei and the Sultan of Lahej. The colours of their tunics and orders dazzled the whole of London.

There was a good representation from European Royal Families, even if the sovereigns and most consorts stood away: HM the Queen of the Netherlands was represented by her consort, HRH the Prince Bernard of the Netherlands, born Prince of Lippe-Biesterfeld, thus the highest representation possible, somehow marking the very close relationship between the Dutch and the British Royal Family, achieved during the Second World War. TRH the Hereditary Grand-Duke Jean and the Hereditary Grand-Duchess Josephine Charlotte represented HRH the Grand-Duchess of Luxembourg, whose relationship with the British Royal Family was also extremely strong as a result of the support from Britain, during the war. The other Benelux kingdom, Belgium, was represented by HRH the Prince of Liège, Prince Albert, brother of HM King Baudouin I of the Belgians. A strong controversy had risen in Belgium when the King declined to attend the funeral of King George VI, and it had been expected that he would attend the coronation. However, respecting the tradition, the King did not attend, sending his brother to represent him.

On the left, HM Queen Salote of Tonga, in her open carriage, braving the rain and receiving immense cheers from the crowds. On the right, the Sultan of Zanzibar and his wife, also in an open landau.

HM King Haakon VII of Norway was represented by his son and heir, HRH Crown Prince Olav. He was accompanied by his wife, HRH Crown Princess Märtha, born Princess of Sweden, and by their daughter, HRH Princess Astrid of Norway. HM the King of Sweden was represented by his son, HRH the Prince Bertil, Duke of Halland, while HM the King of Denmark was represented by HRH Prince Axel of Denmark (son of HRH Prince Valdemar of Denmark and grandson of King Christian IX) and his wife, HRH Princess Margaretha, born Princess of Sweden, sister of Crown Princess Märtha of Norway and the late Queen Astrid of the Belgians.

Mediterranean Royal Families were also present, but only the ones with closest relations with the British Royal Family: HRH Prince Georgios HRH Princess Marie of Greece and Denmark represented the Greek Royal Family. Also present, in her robes of cleric, was HRH the Duke of Edinburgh’s mother, HRH Princess Alice of Greece and Denmark. The Spanish Royal Family was present at its highest level, with TRH the Count and the Countess of Barcelona. It is not clear whether HM Queen Victoria Eugenia of Spain, born a British Princess and widow of King Alfonso XIII, was present at the Coronation ceremony.

The oriental monarchies were highly represented as well: HIH Crown Prince Akihito of Japan represented his father, the Emperor of Japan, a very curious presence after the Second World War which had ended merely 8 years before, and had opposed the West and Japan. HRH Prince Chula represented HM the King of Thailand and HRH Prince Himalya represented the King of Nepal.

Some German royalty was also present at the coronation, mainly given the family relation to the Duke of Edinburgh and also despite the dislike for everything-German in Britain. Guests included TRH the Margrave Berthold and the Margravine Theodora of Baden (sister of the Duke of Edinburgh), HSH Prince Gottfried of Hohenlohe-Langenburg and HRH Princess Margarita of Hohenlohe-Langenburg (sister of the Duke of Edinburgh), HRH the Hereditary Prince Maximilian of Baden, HSH the Princess Beatrix of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, TRH the Prince Georg Wilhelm and the Princess Sophie of Hanover (sister of the Duke of Edinburgh), HH Princess Christina of Hesse-Cassel and HH Princess Dorothea of Hesse-Cassel. Also present was HH the Prince Eugène of Ligne.

The British Royal Family was almost all present, with the exception of HRH the Duke of Windsor and HRH the Duchess of Fife, due to her illness. The former King was not invited for it would be strange to have a former monarch at the coronation of his successor’s successor and it was clear to everyone that it could cause some embarrassment. Apparently the Duke of Windsor was informed of the decision when he was in Britain to attend the funeral of his mother, Queen Mary. The Queen’s uncle, HRH the Duke of Gloucester attended with his wife, HRH the Duchess of Gloucester and their two sons, HRH the Prince William of Gloucester and HRH the Prince Richard of Gloucester. The Duchess wore the robes of a Princess of the Blood, while the two Princes wore the Highlands traditional attire.

HRH the Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent, led her family to the Coronation. She, too, wore the robes of a Princess of the Blood, and so did her daughter, HRH Princess Alexandra of Kent. Her eldest son, HRH the Duke of Kent, wore his robe and coronet of royal duke, while her youngest child, HRH Prince Michael, wore, like his cousins, Highlands’ attire.

Other Princess of the Blood present with her family was HRH the Princess Royal, Countess of Harewood, who was accompanied by her sons, the 7th Earl of Harewood, with his wife Marion, Countess of Harewood and the Honourable Gerald Lascelles. HRH the Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone attended with her husband, the Earl of Athlone and their daughter, Lady May Abel Smith, with her husband Sir Henry Abel Smith. HH Princess Marie Louise, daughter of HRH Princess Helena and thus granddaughter of Queen Victoria, did also attend with full attire of Princess of the Blood. Another prominent guest was Lord Louis, the Earl Mountbatten of Burma, with his wife Edwina, Countess Mountbatten of Burma.

HRH Princess Alice, the Duke of Edinburgh’s mother, in full-length nun's robe, leading her family out of Westminster Abbey after the Queen's coronation. Following her are TRH the Margrave Berthold and the Margravine Theodora of Baden and their son HRH the Hereditary Prince Maximilian of Baden; HSH Prince Gottfried and HRH Princess Margarita of Hohenlohe-Langenburg and their daughter, HRH Princess Beatrix; TRH Prince George Willem and Princess Sophie of Hannover, and her daughter Princess Christina of Hesse; following are TRH the Prince and Princess George of Greece (Prince George in the robes of the order of the Bath).

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