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1952: Elizabeth proclaimed Queen after death of King George VI

On Feb. 6, 1952, Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was proclaimed Queen of Canada. Her spectacular coronation in Westminster Abbey the following year was heard by millions on the radio and was the first ever to be televised. When she visited Canada in 1951, 1957, 1959 and 1964, Elizabeth left an indelible mark on Canadians coast to coast.

On Feb. 6, 1952, King George VI dies suddenly after several years of ill health. Princess Elizabeth, just 25, has begun a Commonwealth tour in Kenya with Prince Philip when she hears the news. On the radio, millions of saddened subjects hear this proclamation from St. James's Palace in London, where "the high and mighty Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary" becomes their Queen.
• King George VI's death from lung cancer at age 56 caught much of the world by surprise. He had been ill the previous year but seemed to be recovering. In England, all radio and television transmissions were cancelled for 24 hours and resumed for six days of dirges and sermons.

• Princess Elizabeth was still in Kenya when she learned that she had become Queen. She immediately flew 7,400 kilometres back to London. On Feb. 8, the Accession Council took place at St. James's Palace and the Queen read her Accession Declaration.
• There was a 16-week period of Court mourning before the Commonwealth celebrated the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in Westminster Abbey on June 2, 1953.
Medium: Radio
Program: CBC Radio News Special
Broadcast Date: Feb. 6, 1952
Guest(s): Sir George Bellew
Duration: 2:40

Last updated: March 28, 2012

Page consulted on February 5, 2014

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