This Month in UK History - June

2 June 1953


Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II

On  a cold, wet and windy day, the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II took place. The weather was much the same then as it was when she celebrated sixty years on the throne this year with a one thousand boat flotilla on the River Thames.

Her coronation was attended by 8,000 guests and an estimated 3 million people lined the route to catch a glimpse of her on the way back to Buckingham Palace. The coronation was also watched on TV by over 20 million people.

Elizabeth became queen on the death of her father George VI who died in his sleep in 1952. He had been king for sixteen years. 

6 June 1944


D-Day Normandy Landings start

On this day the Allied invasion of Normandy began which was the start of the end of Nazi Germany's occupation of Europe. The invasion was a two phase operation, the first being an airbourne assault by over 24,000 Allied troops and the second the amphibious landings. 

Supreme commander of the Allied forces was General Eisenhower but command of the land forces was given to General Montgomery. With over 160,000 troops and 195,000 Allied Naval and Merchant Naval personnel on 5000 ships involved, it was the biggest ever amphibious landing in the history of the world. 

The landings took place on five beaches over a 50 mile stretch of Normandy coast, Utah, Omaha, Juno, Gold & Sword

15 June 1215


King John Signs the Magna Carta

King John was forced to sign the Magna Carta (Latin for Great Charter)  by England's Baron's on this day. The Magna Carter declared that the King's will was not absolute and that every man had the right to be tried through the courts and that no man should be imprisoned without going through the legal system.

The reason why the barons had become unhappy with John was that he was constantly demanding money from them and raising taxes to support his unsuccessful wars overseas. He also managed to upset the Pope who excommunicated him and stopped all church services in England. This turned the people against the King as they thought they couldn't go to heaven if the churches were all closed.

18 June 1815


The Battle of Waterloo

This day marked the end of the reign of the French Emporer Napoleon after he was beaten by The Duke of Wellington's forces at Waterloo in Belgium.

The Battle was important as it marked the end of 25 years of war in Europe and that it was the bloodiest battle ever seen to date. One in four soldiers were killed at Waterloo, the French lost about half their army of 74,000 men in the day's fighting.

The Battle was fought between the British and their Dutch and Prussian allies and the French after Napoleon had escaped from exile on Elba. He was back in exile after Waterloo, This time on St Helena.

Famous Birth


1 June 1935 - Norman Foster

Norman Foster, a British Architect was born on this day in Manchester. 

After graduating with a degree in Architecture from the University of Manchester he went on to study at Yale University. On his return to the UK he set up a company Foster + Partners.

Since the completion of his first design in 1975 he has gone on to design some of the most recognisable buildings in the world. These include; Wembley Stadium, 30 St Mary Axe (The Gherkin), Hong Kong International Airport and the HSBC Building in Hong Kong 

Famous Death


9 June 1870 - Charles Dickens

Dickens, one of the most well known authors in English literature died of a stroke on this day.

Born in Portsmouth he went on to write some of the best known novels, very often commenting on the social strife of the poor in Victorian Britain.

In all he wrote 15 novels including Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, Great Expectations and A Christmas Carol.

He is buried at Poets Corner in Westminster Abbey