Monday 6 February 2012

The Accession of HM The Queen - February 6th - 8th 1952

HM The Queen ascended her various thrones 60 years ago today, February 6th. The precise time of HM's accession is not known. His Late Majesty King George VI died in the morning, some time before being discovered by his valet at Sandringham at 7:15am. Once the immediate members of the Royal Family were told of HLM's death, and HM The Queen's Accession, senior members of the Royal Household travelled to 10 Downing Street to inform the Prime Minister, The Rt. Hon. Winston Churchill, MP. HM The Queen, who was in Kenya, was told of her father's death, and her Accession, by her husband. The announcement to the nation was made at 10:45am.

The Queen's Privy Council for Canada was the first to formally proclaim the new sovereign, doing so on Accession Day itself, closely followed by Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council of the United Kingdom. 

HE The Governor General of Australia and HE the Governor General and Federal Executive Council of South Africa issued their proclamations on February 7th. New Zealand's Governor General proclaimed the new Queen on February 11th.        

The proclamation was gazetted in the London Gazette on February 6th and published in The Times on February 7th .

Friary Court, St. James's Palace
The Queen arrived back in London on February 7th. At 10am on February 8th, HM made the Accession Declaration in front of the Accession Council at St. James's Palace. Shortly thereafter, the formal proclamation was read out in various London locations by the Kings of Arms, accompanied by the other heralds from the College of Arms. Maintaining tradition, the proclamation was first read from the balcony of Friary Court at St. James's Palace (at 11:00am).

The heralds were then escorted by cavalry escort to read the proclamations from Charing Cross, Temple Bar and the Royal Exchange (here accompanied by The Lord Mayor of London and other City dignitaries). On that same day, the proclamation was read out across the country and the world.

Mercat Cross, Edinburgh
In Scotland, Lord Lyon King of Arms read the proclamation from Mercat Cross in Edinburgh; In Australia, HE the Governor General read it from the steps of Parliament House in Canberra at 3pm local time. 

Film footage of the proclamation from the steps of the Royal Exchange, Cornhill in the City of London

Thus started Her Majesty's reign.

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