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Queen Elizabeth II, Her Proclamation

Feb. 8, exactly sixty years ago, the new sovereign was proclaimed Queen Elizabeth II. 




Elizabeth was proclaimed Queen at 11 am, Feb. 8, 1952. It happened at the balcony of St. James' Palace, the official seat of the monarchy, just next door after Clarence House. A little segue for this matter. Because St. James' Palace is the “official state palace,” hence every ambassador are accredited to the Court of St. James'.

Around 150 Lords of the Council, who were representing the Commonwealth and the City of London including the Lord Mayor-- as well as dignitaries from other countries were there to witness the new queen's accession. Doon Coolican wrote, “Kings of Arms, heralds and pursuivants in their medieval uniforms gathered with the Earl Marshall of England, the Duke of Norfolk. A fanfare of trumpets heralded Garter King of Arms.”


Watch Her Majesty's Proclamation




It was the latter who proclaimed to the crowd that the new queen had acceded to the throne. The proclamation was as follows:

“Upon the intimation that our late Most Gracious Sovereign King George the Sixth had died in his sleep at Sandringham in the early hours of this morning the Lords of the Privy Council assembled this day at St. James's Palace, and gave orders for proclaiming Her present Majesty.

WHEREAS it has pleased Almighty God to call to His Mercy our late Sovereign Lord King George the Sixth of Blessed and Glorious memory, by whose Decease the Crown is solely and rightfully come to the High and Mighty Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary:

WE, therefore, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of this Realm, being here assisted with these His late Majesty's Privy Council, with representatives of other Members of the Commonwealth, with other Principal Gentlemen of Quality, with the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and Citizens of London, do now hereby with one voice and Consent of Tongue and Heart publish and proclaim that the High and Mighty Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary is now, by the death of our late Sovereign of happy memory, become Queen Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God Queen of this Realm and of all Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, to whom Her lieges do acknowledge all Faith and constant Obedience with hearty and humble Affection, beseeching God by whom Kings and Queens do reign, to bless the Royal Princess Elizabeth the Second with long and happy Years to reign over us.

Given at St. James's Palace this Sixth Day of February in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and fifty-two.”

Then, the Earl Marshall raised his hand and shouted, “God Save The Queen.” It was followed by gun salutes fired at Hyde Park and at the Tower of London. This was echoed throughout the Commonwealth countries who also made their proclamations on separate dates.

Queen Elizabeth II on the cover of Life Magazine,
a few days after her accession.


In Canada, the proclamation came days earlier, on Feb. 6. It was held at Rideau Hall, and read:

“WHEREAS it hath pleased Almighty God to call to His Mercy Our Late Sovereign Lord King George the Sixth of blessed and glorious memory by whose decease the Crown of Great Britain, Ireland and all other His late Majesty's dominions is solely and rightfully come to the High and Mighty Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, Now Know Ye that I, the said Right Honourable Thibaudeau Rinfret, Administrator of Canada[n 1] as aforesaid, assisted by Her Majesty's Privy Council for Canada do now hereby with one voice and consent of tongue and heart, publish and proclaim that the High and Mighty Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary is now by the death of Our late Sovereign of happy and glorious memory become our only lawful and rightful Liege Lady Elizabeth the Second by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas Queen, Defender of the Faith, Supreme Liege Lady in and over Canada, to whom we acknowledge all faith and constant obedience with all hearty and humble affection, beseeching God by whom all Kings and Queens do reign to bless the Royal Princess Elizabeth the Second with long and happy years to reign over us.

Given under my Hand and Seal at Arms at Ottawa, this Sixth day of February, in the year of Our Lord one thousand nine hundred and fifty-two, and in the first year of Her Majesty's reign.”

Meanwhile, Ernest George Jansen, Governor-General of South Africa, led the proclamation in Cape Town on February 7.

“WHEREAS it hath pleased Almighty God to call to His Mercy our late Sovereign Lord King George the Sixth of blessed and glorious memory, by whose demise the Crown of Great Britain, Ireland and all His late Majesty's other Dominions is solely and rightfully come to the high and mighty Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary;

I, THEREFORE, do hereby publish and proclaim that the high and mighty Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary is now, by the death of our late Sovereign of happy memory, become our only lawful and rightful Sovereign, Queen Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas, Queen, Defender of the Faith, Sovereign in and over the Union of South Africa, to whom now all faith and constant obedience, with all hearty and humble affection are due; beseeching God, by Whom Kings and Queens do reign, to bless the Royal Princess Elizabeth the Second with long and happy years to reign over us.
GOD SAVE THE QUEEN!

Given under my Hand and Great Seal at Cape Town this Seventh day of February, One Thousand Nine Hundred and Fifty-two.”

In Australia, Governor-General Sir William McKell read the proclamation on the steps of Parliament House:

WHEREAS it hath pleased Almighty God to call to His Mercy Our Late Sovereign Lord, King George the Sixth, of blessed and glorious memory, by whose decease the Crown is solely and rightfully come to the High and Mighty Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary: We, therefore, Sir William John McKell, The Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief in and over the Commonwealth of Australia and members of the Federal Executive Council do now hereby, with one voice and consent of tongue and heart, publish and proclaim that the High and Mighty Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary is now, by the death of our late Sovereign of happy memory, become Queen Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, Queen of this realm and of all her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, Supreme Liege Lady in and over the Commonwealth of Australia, to whom her lieges do acknowledge all faith and constant obedience, with hearty and humble affection: Beseeching God, by whom Kings and Queens do reign, to bless the Royal Princess Elizabeth the Second with long and happy years to reign over us.

Given at Canberra this seventh day of February in the Year of our Lord One thousand nine hundred and fifty two, and in the first year of Her Majesty' s reign. God Save the Queen."


Proclamation announcement of Queen Elizabeth II
on the streets of London.

Proclamation Queen Elizabeth II at Killie Cross. 


The Mayor, Alderman R. H. Tozer, and Corporation of Windsor in
front of the Queen Victoria Statue at the foot of Castle Hill as the
Proclamation is read of the death of George VI and the
Accession of Queen Elizabeth II.

High Sheriff of Surrey, Major F. Paget-Hett, reads the proclamation
of Queen Elizabeth II on the steps of Holy Trinity Church in Guildford.

Reading of the Proclamation of Queen Elizabeth II 

from the Market Cross.


Royal Household Cavalry Trumpet Major B J Clarke and
Trumpeters R Mcdonald W Short and G Harris at the
Proclamation Of Queen Elizabeth II.


The queen readily accepted her obligation. As new monarch, she read an official proclamation, declaring her reign as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Queen Elizabeth II read: "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."

After her proclamation, Queen Elizabeth immediately held her first meeting with the Privy Council at the Throne Room of St. James' Palace. Just like Queen Victoria over a century ago, the queen welcomed her reign with quiet dignity and confidence. She made a striking impression on those hundreds of veterans and statesmen surrounding her. Although dressed in deep mourning suit, she was reported, nevertheless, maintained dried eyes while reading the Royal Message.

She proceeded to Sandringham where she joined her grieving mother and sister. They walked together as the king's coffin was being taken to the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, across the expansive park from the house.

Speaking of the event, Lord Chandos recorded: “There must have been nearly two hundred Privy Councillors present in the large room next to the Picture Gallery. The door opened, and the Queen in black came in. Suddenly the members of the Privy Council looked immeasurably old and gnarled and grey. The Queen made one of the most touching speeches to which I have ever listened, and I, like many others, could hardly control my emotions.”

Harold Macmillan wrote in his diary: “The Queen’s entrance; the low bows of her councillors; the firm, yet charming voice in which she pronounced her allocution and went through the various ceremonious forms of the ritual produced a profound impression on us all.”

Meanwhile, Vincent Massey, the new Governor-General of Canada, wrote: “It was a very moving occasion – the Queen, a slight figure dressed in deep mourning, entered the great room alone and, with strong but perfectly controlled emotion, went through the exacting tasks the Constitution prescribes. Her speeches were perfectly delivered. After this, Prince Philip, who was in the room as a Privy Counsellor, stepped forward quietly and went out of the door with her.”

The Queen, despite the dark cloud of mourning welcomed her reign—and the obligation it entailed—with a heart of a king.  



References and Photo Sources:

BBC UK, http://www.digitalhen.co.uk/news/uk-16896731retrieved Feb. 8, 2012

Goddess, Saint, Noblewoman, Nun, http://goddesssaintnoblewomannun.blogspot.com, retrieved Feb. 8, 2012.

MySpace, http://www.myspace.com/358080397, retrieved Feb. 8, 2012.

Panoramio, http://www.panoramio.com/photo/6425114, retrieved Feb. 8, 2012.



The Official Website of St. Catherine's Village, Guildford, http://st-caths-web.co.uk/?p=14823, retrieved Feb. 8, 2012.

The Royal Windsor Website, http://www.thamesweb.co.uk/windsor/windsorhistory/georgeVI/proclamation52.html, retrieved Feb. 8, 2012.

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