When a Princess became the Queen

On 6th February 1952, King George VI died, and Queen Elizabeth II began her reign. Elizabeth’s reign is the second longest, beaten by her Great Great Grandmother, Queen Victoria.

The Daily Express front page on Thursday February 7th, 1952.
The Daily Express front page on Thursday February 7th, 1952.

“The King, who retired to rest last night in his usual health, passed peacefully away in his sleep early this morning”.

Those were the words from Sandringham at 10:45am on 6th February 1952 – the day that Princess Elizabeth became Queen.

Princess Elizabeth and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, were staying in the Treetops Hotel in Kenya – unaware that the King had died during the night at Sandringham. At 2.54pm (11.54am London time), the Duke was told of the King’s death and he delivered the news to is wife.

Delayed by thunderstorms, the new Queen and her husband flew back to London.

Queen Elizabeth II was crowned on 2nd June 1953, also becoming ‘Head of the Commonwealth’ – a title held previously and only by her father. Now at 86 years old, she marks her 60th year as Queen with a 1,000 boat strong floatilla on the River Thames through London, whilst numerous community events are staged up and down the country.

Queen Victoria still the longest reigning monarch

Queen Victoria by George Hayter
Queen Victoria by George Hayter (1860)

Queen Victoria still holds on to the longest reign – reaching just over 63 years (1837-1901) – with Queen Elizabeth II now just three years behind by celebrating her Diamond Jubilee in 2012. King George III ranks as third with a reign that lasted just over 59 years (1760-1820).

Click the image below for a video of the elderly widowed Queen Victoria arriving at a garden party in her honour.

Video of Queen Victoria at a Garden Party
Click image for a video of Queen Victoria arriving at a Garden Party.

Victoria celebrated her Golden Jubilee in 1887, and her Diamond Jubilee in 1897. Victoria died in 1901, with the throne passing to the current monarch’s grandfather, King George V.

Author: Andrew Martin

Andrew Martin is a British author, family historian, tech nerd, AFOL, and host of The Family Histories Podcast.

One thought on “When a Princess became the Queen”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: