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West of Suez: Britain and the Mediterranean, 1704-1967
Home|Special Collections Exhibitions|West of Suez: Britain and the Mediterranean, 1704-1967|Malta|Celebrations to mark the 1953 Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II 

Celebrations to mark the 1953 Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II

Set of photographs from a scrapbook showing celebrations of the 1953 coronation celebrations in Malta, with floats, crowds and street party celebrations shownSet of photographs from a scrapbook showing celebrations of the 1953 coronation celebrations in MaltaMalta gained independence from Britain in 1964, eleven years after these photographs of the 1953 coronation celebrations were taken. The photographs show floats, huge crowds and street party celebrations and are from a collection of documents on the coronation assembled by staff of the Colonial Office Library.

The souvenir programmes and photographs still present a picture of an empire united in loyalty to the sovereign, but some of the confidential despatches tell a different story; in Malta’s Mediterranean neighbour, Cyprus, for example, no details of the celebratory programme were released until a fortnight before the event, so as to minimise opportunities for planned disruption.

The relationship between Britain and its former possessions had changed to that of a partnership of nations, a partnership which the British government hoped would provide some degree of counter-balance to the two great Cold War superpowers, filling the vacuum created by the collapse of continental European power in 1945.

The poor quality of the image shown here is due to the difficulties involved in digitising this unwieldy and delicate collection of photographs and documents collated by the Colonial Office Library.

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