The queen arrived at Westminster Abbey in London on Tuesday with her husband Prince Philip at her side for more of a solemn ceremony than celebration to mark the 60th anniversary of her coronation.
Inside the abbey, several generations of the extended royal family waited: the queen's son, Prince Charles, now in his 60s, and next in line to the throne, and her grandson, Prince William, second in line, with his very pregnant wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, who is due to give birth to yet another royal heir next month.
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron - the 12th to serve under Queen Elizabeth -- gave the reading to some 2,000 guests gathered at the abbey.
There were many echoes of the original coronation service 60 years ago, including the solid gold St. Edward's crown sitting on the altar. It hasn't been out of the Tower of London since 1953 when the Archbishop of Canterbury placed it gently -- it weighs five pounds -- on 27-year-old Elizabeth's head.
The country -- and the world -- watched fascinated as the ceremony was broadcast live on what was then a brand new innovation -- TV. Conservatives in Britain were against the idea, worried about the fallout if something went wrong. In the end, it was the queen herself who invited the cameras in.
Since then -- over six decades -- she's been an innovator, determined to keep the monarchy both modern and relevant. Roya Nikkhah, a royal commentator, said, "(Elizabeth's) made a huge number of really popular decisions. She's the first monarch to pay income tax, the first monarch to open up royal finances to public scrutiny, the first monarch to open up Buckingham Palace to the public."
The service on Tuesday marks 60 years of the reign of a woman who always saw her royal birthright as a duty, and worked to keep her very public role pitch-perfect.