Serena Williams overcame a resurgent Agnieszka Radwanska to clinch a hard-fought 6-1 5-7 6-2 victory and earn her fifth Wimbledon singles title.
The American had eased through the opening set before Radwanska regrouped to win a rain-delayed second set.
But Williams broke twice in the decider to kill off Radwanska’s challenge.
The 30-year-old then followed up her success to claim the doubles title with sister Venus, defeating Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka 7-5 6-4.
Her singles victory is Williams’s 14th Grand Slam title and follows Wimbledon singles victories in 2002, 2003, 2009 and 2010.
But it is also her first since spending almost a year out of action between summer 2010 and 2011 with a leg injury and subsequent pulmonary embolism.
“I can’t even describe it. I almost didn’t make it a few years ago,” she said after her win, referring to her health problems.
“I was in hospital but now I’m here again and it was so worth it. I’m so happy.
“Aggie played so well and that’s why she’s had such a great career and she’s so young.”
Such an absorbing finish seemed highly unlikely as Williams demolished Radwanska in the opening set, raising the fear that her opponent was struggling with a respiratory illness that forced her to call off a news conference on Friday.
The world number three seemed to lack the energy to realise her hopes of countering Williams’s clubbing baseline power with guile and touch.
A brief rain shower appeared to have opposite effects on the pair however, as Radwanska emerged revitalised and Williams’s forehand grew increasingly erratic.
Williams broke to love in the third game with a walloped return winner, but her nerves tightened and Radwanska raised her game just in time to avert a seemingly inevitable straight-sets win.
Radwanska forced break point for the first time in the match to level at 4-4 and the crowd threw their support behind her renaissance.
Suddenly Radwanska’s scurrying and fetching was asking questions and Williams, apparently beset by mental demons, crashed into the net from midcourt to send the match into a decider.
The American had lost only four of the previous 194 Grand Slam matches in which she won the opening set however, and reasserted her authority to protect that record and accelerate away from Radwanska.
Radwanska saw off two break points to hold for a 2-1 lead, but Williams served out in less than a minute in the following game and was not to be denied in the next.
A cute drop shot moved her a double break and 5-2 clear and Williams kept any lingering jitters at bay to serve out before dropping to the turf in delight.
Her victory is the first time the title has been won by a woman over 30 since Martina Navratilova’s triumph in 1990 and restores Victoria Azarenka, the Belarussian she beat in the semi-final, to the world number one spot.
Williams also served a total of 102 aces en route to lifting the Venus Rosewater Dish – more than any other woman has managed in a single Wimbledon campaign.
Radwanska admitted she was at a loss as to how to deal with the Williams serve.
“She was really serving well. This is the thing I can’t do anything about it,” said the Pole.
“Second set I think was a little bit more windy, she didn’t put that much first serves in and I could have my chances to break her back which I did.
“But it’s her weapon and that’s why she’s won the tournament five times.
“These have been the best two weeks of my life. Of course it’s always disappointing to lose, especially after a tough and good match but I’m very happy about my final.”
Serena Williams then made it two titles in a day as she partnered sister Venus, 32, to victory in the women’s doubles.
They beat the Czech sixth seeds Hlavackova and Hradecka to claim what was their fifth Wimbledon doubles title together, and 13th combined Grand Slam.