Today, February 6th, marks Accession Day. "For the first time in the history of the world, a young girl climbed into a tree one day a Princess and after having what she described as her most thrilling experience she climbed down from the tree next day a Queen." 💗
On February, 6, 1952, the day George VI died at Sandringham House, Elizabeth wasn't by her father's side — instead, she was working on his behalf. At the time, the British monarchy was under intense scrutiny in Kenya. Mau Mau fighters were gaining power in their fight against British colonialism and for independence (which they eventually won in 1963). Though the safety of the royal family was a big concern among British officials, the King felt it was necessary to show face on the African continent. Knowing that the King was too ill to travel, Elizabeth set off on the Commonwealth tour with her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh (who became Prince Philip in 1957). Little did Elizabeth know that when she departed Heathrow on January 31, 1952 that it would be the last time she'd ever see her beloved father. In the early afternoon, Philip was the one to first learn that George VI had died after a local newspaper reporter told him. And later on in the afternoon, when the royal couple was at a fishing lodge 20 miles away from the hotel, Philip finally told his wife.
After hearing the tragic news, Elizabeth took a walk around the grounds with Philip. She then immediately began writing letters to leaders apologizing that she'd have to cancel the rest of her trip.
A day later, Commonwealth representatives and privy counselors attended an Accession Council at St. James's Palace where Elizabeth officially recognized her new role. “By the sudden death of my dear father I am called to assume the duties and responsibilities of sovereignty," she explained. "My heart is too full for me to say more to you today than I shall always work, as my father did throughout his reign, to advance the happiness and prosperity of my peoples." #LongLiveTheQueen 🇬🇧👑 - 12 days ago