|Queen Elizabeth and King George VI opening the Canadian Pavilion at the World's Fair, New York, New York. Source: Library and Archives Canada|
As golden-uniformed heralds moved through foggy London streets in medieval pageantry which twice within the year heralded a new sovereign, the crisis of Edward's abdication passed into history.
With unruffled calm, the British people accepted the melodramatic change of sovereigns and turned from the prince-king they loved so well to his tall, family-loving brother George--but with deep sympathy and a Godspeed to him who found the burden of kingdom too heavy without "the woman I love."
Before the musty battlement of St. James' Palace, proud heralds hailed the new king. Trumpets shrilled as throngs watched the pageantry of centuries ago reenacted.
Sir George Wollaston, the Garter principal King of Arms, proclaimed:
"Our only lawful and rightful liege lord, George the Sixth, by the grace of God, King of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the seas, defender of the faith, Emperor of India, to whom we all acknowledge all faith and constant obedience with all hearty and humble affection, beseeching God, by whom kings and queens do reign, to bless the royal Prince George VI with long and happy years to reign over us."
Meanwhile, Edward who henceforth will be His Royal Highness, the Duke of Windsor, was speeding across France toward Vienna Austria, to behind self-exile.
London's day of splendor to pay homage to George VI centered at Charing Cross, at Temple Bar, at the Royal Exchange, and at each place the proclamation was ready.
Despite the foggy weather, more than 4000 troops marched to line the route from old St. James' to the Royal Exchange in the heart of the city where the pageant of Heralds moved amidst cheers and cries "God Save the King."
One of King George's first acts was to agree no change will occur for the coronation and that it will be held as scheduled May 12.
Another was to approve the title of Duke of Windsor for his departed brother.
George ascended to the throne of an empire that has seen changes since the Statute of Westminster in 1931, which left the crown as the only remaining link of empire.
Some Englishmen lamented today that "the old empire will never be quite the same again."
The new king's day began at St. James' where the deed which proclaimed him rule was drawn up by 300 resplendent accession councilors, and heralds and pursuivants cried out the new monarch was at hand.
Then, he dispatched messages to the fighting services, now at his command. To the navy, in which he was trained, he pointed out his service with naval units during the World War.
To the air force he recalled he had served with the independent squadrons in France in 1918. To the army went a similar greeting.
Prime Minister Baldwin, Chancellor of the Exchequer Neville Chamberlain and other cabinet ministers were present. The archbishops of York and Canterbury as representatives of the English Church completed the assembly.
Queen Mother Mary watched the whole scene from an upstairs window in Marlborough House. Meanwhile, George's brothers, the dukes of Gloucester and Kent, were with him inside and after the proclamation of his accession he received the greetings and expressions of loyalty from representatives of the dominions.
After the council meeting, King George walked down the grand staircase, out the palace door and to the cheers of the crowd departed for Buckingham Palace.
Traffic was diverted from the route of the proclamation procession, but downtown London was literally jammed as the proclamations of kingdom were read at St. James', Charing Cross, Temple Bar and the Royal Exchange.