It was 60 years ago Monday, Feb. 6 that Queen Elizabeth took the British throne when her 56-year-old father King George VI died of a fatal blood clot in his sleep. The then-25-year-old Princess Elizabeth was in Kenya were her husband Prince Philip and didn’t receive the news that she was Queen before the BBC broadcast to the world that King George had died.
On Feb. 8, Queen Elizabeth met with the Lords of the Council for the formal Accession ceremony, where she said, “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.”
While Feb. 6 is the official anniversary of her accession, the formal celebratory weekend will take place June 2-5, 2012. The main event is expected to be a massive pageant on the Thames river. One of the few things the Queen did do to mark the occasion in February was to visit the Dersingham Infant and Nursery School in Norfolk, which is what is pictured above.
Queen Elizabeth is the second-longest-serving monarch, after her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria, who reigned for over 63 years.