mauro February 6, 2015

63 years ago today: George VI dies and Elizabeth becomes Queen

6 February 2015 – 07:00am
Edited by Martin – Spotted an Error?

Cindy Stockman

Today in 1952 King George VI, died peacefully in his sleep at Sandringham House.

It was a day of immense sadness for the Royal family and country alike. It also is the day, that the almost-longest reigning British monarch would begin her decades of duty to crown and country.

We look back at today as it marks the anniversary of Princess Elizabeth formally declaring herself Queen and Head of the Commonwealth and Defender of the Faith.

Lords of the Council, representatives from the Commonwealth and officials from the City of London, including the Lord Mayor and other dignitaries witnessed King George VI’s beloved daughter proclaim:

“By the sudden death of my dear father I am called to assume the duties and responsibilities of sovereignty. 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, spread as they are all the world over.”

The meeting was a mere 25 minutes but likely to seem a lifetime for the new Queen experience the grief and sadness of losing her father. Following the Accession Declaration, Her Majesty assembled the first Privy Council meeting and the Proclamation was then signed by the Prime Minister, Lord Chancellor, privy counsellors, The Lord Mayor of London as well as City and Commonwealth representatives.

Imagine being in Kenya as a Princess and returning to England as The Queen. How tragic that must have been for Her Majesty to learn that her Father, King George VI was dead and she now would wear the crown. Have you ever stopped and imagined the range of emotions she must have felt at the time? The sadness of losing her much beloved father, the tragedy of a nation losing their King and the thought that there was now a new monarch, Queen Elizabeth II.

Really it is rather heartbreaking to think about how the next in line becomes the King or Queen. Prince Charles said it best when interviewed for ‘The Man Who Will Be King’ a program that aired in the States: “if it comes to it, regrettably it comes as a result of the death of your parent.” It is difficult to think of what must transpire in order for Charles to become King.

Featured photo credit: BBC Radio 4 via photopin cc

The Death of George VI

John Snagge announces the death of King George VI.

CHANNEL | Home Service

FIRST BROADCAST | 06 February 1952

DURATION | 00 minutes 58 seconds




John Snagge reads the formal announcement from Sandringham that King George VI has died peacefully in his sleep. Expressing sympathy for the Queen and the Royal Family on behalf of the BBC, he concludes by informing listeners that the rest of the day’s publicised schedule has been cancelled, aside from news bulletins and essential shipping forecasts.

The picture shows Princess Elizabeth returning from Kenya on 7 February. She was proclaimed Queen the following day.


George VI was one of the United Kingdom’s most beloved and respected monarchs. Throughout the war, and in particular during the bombardment of the Blitz, the Royal Family was seen to share in the sufferings of ordinary Londoners, especially after the bombing of Buckingham Palace. After his death, the King’s body lay in state for three days in Westminster Hall. During this period, about 300,000 people filed past the coffin to pay their respects.


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