1. Accession and Coronation
Princess Elizabeth was on holiday at the Treetops Hotel in Kenya when she learnt that her father, King George VI, had died and that she was now Queen Elizabeth II. The remote location delayed the news – a local reporter first told the Princess’s private secretary of the King’s death. Prince Philip broke the news to the new Queen, walking on the banks of the Sagana River. The royal party flew to London via Entebbe to be greeted by Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
Over a year later, on 2nd June 1952, Queen Elizabeth II was crowned at Westminster Abbey. There was one vital departure from tradition: the ceremony was televised for the first time. Watched by 27 million people, the event kick-started large scale television ownership and transformed the cultural life of Britain. On the morning of the ceremony came highly symbolic news: Mount Everest had been conquered by a British team led by Sir John Hunt.