The Scot took the first set on centre court but was taken apart by the Swiss after that. Britain's wait for a winner continues.
Andy Murray is 'getting closer'
The Scot took the first set on centre court but was taken apart by the Swiss after that, gradually crumbling to a 3-1 defeat as Federer took a record-equalling seventh SW19 title.
The loss marked a fourth grand slam final defeat from as many attempts for Murray – three of them to Federer – and when addressing the crowd, he was unable to keep it together.
"I'm getting closer," he said, as his voice started breaking.
He then had to step away from the microphone for a minute before returning to say: "I'm gonna try. This is not going to be easy. Firstly I'd like to congratulate Roger.
"I was asked the other day: 'Is this your best chance, Roger is 30 now?'
"He's not bad for a 30 year old. He played a great tournament. I know he had some struggles with his back, but he showed what fight he had. He deserves it.
"I'll try not to look at him as I'll start [crying] again. Thanks to everyone who has supported me. You did a great job. It's always tough.
"And last of all to the crowd. Everyone always talks about the pressure of playing a Wimbledon and how tough it is. It's not the people watching, you make it so much easier to play. The support has been incredible. Thank you."
For Federer it was a 17th grand slam title and his first since he beat Murray in the Australian Open final in 2010.
Many had him down as a spent force owing to the emergence of Novak Djokovic as Rafael Nadal's great rival, but Federer had resoundingly redressed that and has now returned to the world No 1 spot he has not held since he surrendered it to Nadal three years ago.
He also had some kind words for Murray, saying: "He's done so well over the years and it [his tears] shows he cares so dearly about his tennis. He will win one grand slam at least. I hope so."
Of himself, Federer added: "I think I have played some of my best tennis in the last two matches. It's worked out here that I have played my best tennis in the semis and the final. I couldn't be more happy. It feels so familiar [to win] and it's a great moment."
His seventh Wimbledon title not only elevates him back to the top of the world rankings, but draws him level with the number of titles the great Pete Sampras won at the All England Club.
"It's amazing," Federer said. "It equals me with Pete who is my hero, and the world number one, they don't get gifted to you."