Elizabeth II: what was her first reaction when she learned of her father’s death?

Just 69 years ago, England lost its king. On February 6, 1952, George VI breathed his last after a coronary thrombosis at the age of 56 in Sandrigham. For years now, the monarch had been battling lung cancer that had considerably weakened him. On that day, his daughter Elizabeth was far from England. Recently, the 25-year-old princess was on an official trip to Kenya with her husband, Prince Philip. And it was in Africa that she learned of her father’s death and understood that she was thus becoming Her Majesty Elizabeth II. A necessarily special moment for the queen, who remained “very calm”, according to her companion, Pamela Mountbatten. Very soon after hearing of her father’s death, the princess made a point of addressing the staff accompanying her on this important trip.

“She stayed completely calm and just said, ‘I’m so sorry. It means we all have to go home,'” she recounts in her memoir, Daughter Of Empire. Immediately after, Elizabeth II’s team got to work planning their hasty trip back to Britain aboard the Royal BOAC Argonaut, which had to be delayed for several hours due to a storm. . Aware of her new role, she immediately plunged into the practical questions that awaited her. But she also asked that she be left alone in her room for a few hours, the time to hear the sad news and begin her reign. Almost 50 years after that day, Elizabeth II still has fond memories of her father. It is not uncommon for her to pay tribute to him.

Elizabeth II: her precious memories

On May 8 in particular, on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, she honored the memory of her father, thanks in particular to two photos of him, prominently displayed on his desk: a portrait and a shot from the balcony of Buckingham Palace. Queen Elizabeth II had also subtly added a memento of her father to her outfit. Indeed, the two aquamarine brooches she wore on the day of this historic address were a gift from King George VI. She also keeps preciously the letter that her father sent her on the day of her marriage to Prince Philip. “I was so proud and happy to have you so close to me during this long walk in Westminster Abbey, wrote the monarch. But when I gave your hand to the Archbishop, I felt that I was losing something very precious. You were so calm and collected during the ceremony and you spoke with so much conviction that I knew everything would be fine. “

Elizabeth II © AGENCY

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