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Comparing British Coronations to American Inaugurations in Photos

elizabeth ii and prince philip
British Coronations vs. American InaugurationsBettmann - Getty Images

It’s interesting to look back in history to see how countries celebrate and treat their leaders at different points in time. Obviously, Britain now has more typical swearing in ceremonies with their Prime Ministers and members of the House of Lords, but the coronation of King Charles III is still steeped in centuries-old tradition.

1909: Inauguration of William Howard Taft

A blizzard the night before prevented the full swearing in from taking place outside, but Taft still came outside for a parade. There was also an inaugural ball that evening, which wouldn’t occur again until 1949 as the following President Woodrow Wilson requested its temporary removal.

william howard taft 1857 1930 acknowledging the cheers of the crowd at his inauguration as 27th president of the united states of america 1909 1913
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1911: King George V Being Invested in the Order of the Garter

As one of the events in leadup to the coronation, George V was sworn into the Order of the Garter. The order was founded in the 14th century by King Edward III and is the most senior order of Knighthood in Britain.

king of england, george v, and his wife mary of teck
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1911: Coronation of King George V

George V unexpectedly became next-in-line for the throne after the death of his elder brother Prince Albert Victor in 1892, becoming king in 1910. Here he’s photographed with his wife, Queen Consort Mary of Teck in their coronation robes. Mary of Teck was betrothed to Prince Albert before his death to influenza, and accepted George’s proposal the following year.

george and mary
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1913: Inauguration of Woodrow Wilson

Here’s Wilson at the inauguration for his first term as the 28th President of the United States. He delivered a moving inaugural address, where he praised the advances of the country but also noted, “We have been proud of our industrial achievements, but we have not hitherto stopped thoughtfully enough to count the human cost, the cost of lives snuffed out, of energies overtaxed and broken, the fearful physical and spiritual cost to the men and women and children upon whom the dead weight and burden of it all has fallen pitilessly the years through.”

inauguration of president woodrow wilson first term of office
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1913: Taft & Wilson at the Inaugural Parade

Wilson defeated both the incumbent Taft and third-party nominee, Theodore Roosevelt. While he won his ticket by mobilizing progressive voters and passed several positive progressive Acts, Wilson also imposed segregation rules in federal buildings and was an outspoken opponent of the Women’s suffrage movement.

inauguration of woodrow wilson
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1937: Coronation of King George VI

King George VI was also not expecting to ascend to the throne, as his older brother Prince Edward was the heir apparent. After George V’s death, Edward was king for just a few months before abdicating the position due to the British government opposing his marriage to the American socialite Wallis Simpson.

coronation of george vi, 1937
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1937: King George VI & the Royal Family

The Royal family greets a crowd after Geoge VI’s coronation on the balcony at Buckingham Palace. You can even see a young Queen Elizabeth, then Princess Elizabeth of York, and her younger sister Princess Margaret, smiling and waving at the ceremony.

the british royal family on the buckingham palace balcony
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1941: Franklin Delano Roosevelt after his Third Inauguration

FDR is the only U.S. President to serve more than two terms, winning a staggering four elections through his Presidential career. This is no longer possible, as lawmakers in Congress ratified the 22nd constitutional amendment in 1947, limiting Presidents to a maximum of two four-year terms.

president franklin delano roosevelt and eleanor roosevelt
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1953: Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II

Here’s Queen Elizabeth II looking extremely regal at her own coronation. That’s Prince Phillip, the late Duke of Edinburgh, kneeling in front of the Queen where he reportedly swore to her, “I, Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, do become your liege man of life and limb and of earthly worship... so help me God.”

the coronation
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1953: Queen Elizabeth II & the Royal Family

Can you spot the future king in this photo of the Royal Family? It’s the tiny King Charles right in the center, next to his sister Anne, Princess Royal.

queen elizabeth poses with royal family
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1953: Dwight D. Eisenhower at his Inaugural Parade

Dwight D. Eisenhower at the parade celebrating his first Inauguration being sworn in as the United States’ 34th President in 1953. As part of his inaugural address, he addressed the tumultuous wars and upheaval that marked the world in the past decades. “The peace we seek, then, is nothing less than the practice and fulfillment of our whole faith among ourselves and in our dealings with others. This signifies more than the stilling of guns, casing the sorrow of war. More than escape from death, it is a way of life. More than a haven for the weary, it is a hope for the brave,” President Eisenhower said.

inauguration of dwight d eisenhower
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1953: Lasso Performance at Eisenhower’s Inauguration

Here’s the cowboy Monte Montana, well known as a trick rider who made many appearances in Film and TV westerns, putting on a lasso show for the newly-inaugurated President.

cowboy doing a trick with a lasso
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2021: Inauguration of President Joe Biden

President Joe Biden’s swearing in as the 46th President of the U.S. was marred by the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and the Capitol Riots that had occurred just a couple of weeks beforehand.“So now, on this hallowed ground where just days ago violence sought to shake this Capitol’s very foundation, we come together as one nation, under God, indivisible, to carry out the peaceful transfer of power as we have for more than two centuries. We look ahead in our uniquely American way – restless, bold, optimistic – and set our sights on the nation we know we can be and we must be,” Biden pointedly said.

joe biden sworn in as 46th president of the united states at us capitol inauguration ceremony
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2023: Coronation of King Charles III

After Queen Elizabeth II passed away in September of 2022, Prince Charles became King Charles III. On Saturday, May 6, King Charles and Queen Camilla. Charles is holding the Sovereign's Scepter and Sovereign's Orb, which have been used in the coronation of every British Monarch since 1661

their majesties king charles iii and queen camilla coronation day
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2023: Their Majesties King Charles & Queen Camilla

Camilla was also crowned Queen at this ceremony, even if Charles was certainly the main star of the event. Camilla was given permission to have the title of Queen Consort by Elizabeth II before her death, and official Royal invitations to the coronation now refer to her just as Queen Camilla.

their majesties king charles iii and queen camilla coronation day
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