Almanac: The day Elizabeth became queen
And now a page from our "Sunday Morning" Almanac: February 6, 1952, 70 years ago today … the day Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh, became Queen Elizabeth II.
Her ascent was sudden.
The princess was in Kenya, on what was to be a five-month overseas tour, when her father, King George VI, died. Word of his death first reached Elizabeth's husband, Philip, who told his wife the news that would change their lives forever.
As one newsreel reported, "The new queen left immediately for London, where her uncle, the Duke of Gloucester, and Earl Mountbatten, uncle of the Duke of Edinburgh, were waiting to welcome the girl who left as a royal ambassador – and returned as a queen."
The ensuing seven decades have brought periods of national prosperity and political upheaval, as well as the decline of the once-vast British Empire.
- A look at the queen's history-making visits with American presidents
- Queen Elizabeth keeps calm and carries on
Prince Philip died last April, but, 70 years on, the woman who ascended to the throne at age 25 occupies it still.
In June, Britain will stage a Platinum Jubilee celebration to honor a monarch who, in a world of constant change, remains a singular figure of strength and continuity.
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