QUEEN Elizabeth II took the throne in February 1952 – on the same day her father, George VI, passed away.
Here’s what you need to know about the extraordinary circumstances leading to the Queen’s ascension.
Who was Queen Elizabeth II’s father?
The Queen’s father was George VI, who was born on 14 December 1895.
He was King of of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth from 11 December 1936 until his death on 6 February 1952.
The Queen succeeded her father on the same day.
How did he die?
Princess Elizabeth, then aged 25, was in Kenya on a royal tour when she learned of her father George VI’s death.
The King, who was ill with lung cancer and other ailments, had ignored doctors’ advice to see his daughter off from London Airport on January 31.
Elizabeth and her husband Philip planned to travel to Australia after a week in Kenya.
But on the morning of February 6, the King was found dead from a coronary thrombosis in his bed at Sandringham in Norfolk. Philip broke the news to his wife.
When did Queen Elizabeth assume sovereignty?
The Princess, eldest of the monarch’s two daughters and first in line to the throne, flew back to London as Queen.
She formally proclaimed her accession at a meeting of the Accession Council – a ceremonial body made up of privy councillors, peers and senior officials – at St James’s Palace on February 8.
She became the first Sovereign in over 200 years to accede while abroad.
Speaking after her meeting with the council, the Queen 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.”
Her formal coronation as Queen Elizabeth II took place on June 2, 1953, in London’s Westminster Abbey.
How is Accession Day celebrated and what happens in a royal gun salute?
February 6 is celebrated every year with church services and official functions across the country.
Flags are flown and soldiers fire gun salutes in London’s Green Park and the Tower of London, and also at Woolwich, Colchester, Edinburgh Castle, Stirling Castle, Cardiff, Belfast, York, Portsmouth, Plymouth and Dover Castle.
The 41-gun royal gun salute in Green Park takes place at midday.
The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery in full dress uniform ride out from Wellington Barracks and parade past Buckingham Palace.
Six First World War era 13-pounder guns are pulled across the park by teams of six horses each.
The guns are detached and soldiers fire blanks a total of 41 times at ten second intervals, sending up puffs of white smoke.
In 2022, the Queen will celebrate a staggering 70 years on the throne in a series of year-long events for the Platinum Jubilee.
For the special occasion, her golden carriage will making a glittering return after being pimped up at Buckingham Palace.
The 240-year-old horse-drawn coach is getting what insiders describe as an MoT-style once-over, 20 years since it last appeared on London’s streets.
The Queen previously described the ride in the Gold State Coach during her Coronation in 1953 as “horrible”.
It was commissioned by King George III in 1760 for £7,562 – the equivalent of £1.6million today.
Royals are to appear in carriages for Trooping The Colour on the first day of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations on June 2.