Have Your Say

Your memories of the Queen's 60 years

Queen Elizabeth II returns to the UK following the death of her father, King George VI
Image caption Queen Elizabeth II returns to British soil following the death of her father, King George VI, and is met by Prime Minister Winston Churchill

On 6 February 1952, Queen Elizabeth II acceded to the throne following the death of her father, King George VI. Her Majesty was visiting Kenya at the time of her father's death. She set off on her journey a princess and returned a queen.

We asked you to send us your memories of the momentous events of this day 60 years ago.

We received a huge response from throughout the United Kingdom and around the world. Here is a selection of what you had to say.

Pamela Patrick, Long Compton, Warwickshire, age 91

Image caption Pamela Patrick as she was in 1952, with her four-month-old son Adrian, and as she is now

We were all living at the Silverbeck Hotel, in Nanyuki in Kenya. My son Adrian was four months old.

Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip were on their way to Australia by ship but broke their journey at Mombasa to go to Treetops Hotel.

My husband David was then with the East Africa Posts and Telegraphs Department and was in charge of the telecommunication to the site.

Image caption Pamela's postcard of the Treetops resort in Kenya, as it was when the then Princess Elizabeth visited in 1952

Early on the morning of 6 February, he was called to fix the telephones as the elephants had knocked down the poles overnight.

Whilst he was testing the equipment he heard that King George VI had died. He was able to inform the Provincial Commissioner and the flag was lowered and the garden party the princess was to go to was cancelled. (We still have the invitation!)

During the next hour the telephone was busy making arrangements for the then Queen to go to Nanyuki airstrip to be flown by Dakota aircraft to Entebbe in Uganda where the Queen was to get her plane home to the UK.

So David phoned me at the hotel and told me that if I went outside, the Queen's party would go past en route to the airstrip. I told another couple and so three of us with Adrian in the pram were some of the very first people to wave to her as Queen.

The car slowed down and she waved, in spite of what she must have been feeling herself.

She was not dressed in black mourning clothes as she had none. These were sent from the ship to Entebbe to meet the Queen, so that she was dressed accordingly for her arrival back in the UK.

Alasdair Campbell, Bath, age 70

Image caption Alasdair Campbell at boarding school in Scotland in 1952, and as he is now

I was at a small boarding school in Scotland on 6 February 1952 when a staff member came into the classroom and whispered something into our French master's ear.

Almost immediately, we could see tears rolling down his cheeks, then slowly he walked to the chalkboard and wrote: "Le Roi est mort; vive la Reine". I shall never forget it.

We were all of an age - 10 or 11 - when seeing a grown man cry would puzzle us.

I think a lot of the genuine love and respect for King George VI is down to the very public and symbolic role of the King and Queen during the war.

We all knew George VI wasn't a well man. He came to the throne and had to overcome all sorts of obstacles - so we all felt for him.

It also meant the Queen had to take over the reins at a very early age. As little boys we didn't know much about her.

Ann Redburn, Bolton, age 68

Image caption Ann Redburn in 1952, aged seven, and as she is today

I was seven and 6 February 1952 was to be a very important day for me. I was to be enrolled into my Brownie pack.

I had been practising for some time doing the salute and saying the Promise. "I promise to do my best, to do my duty to God and the King..."

I can remember my mother telling me that the King had died and that Princess Elizabeth was now our Queen.

I went to the Brownie meeting that evening and stood there proudly in the middle of the Brownie ring, my left hand on the toadstool and my right hand giving the Brownie salute.

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Media captionJoan Sergeant and Margaret Lavender recall their childhood memories of the Queen's succession

I started to say The Promise and when I got to the bit where I was to say 'to God and the King', I hesitated for just a fraction of a second, caught Brown Owl's eye, and together we said 'to God and the Queen'.

It was quite a moving experience and I was suddenly aware of it being an important historical event.

For all I know I was among the very first Brownies to be enrolled during the reign of our Queen. What a moment.

Chris Wilson, Limavady, Northern Ireland, age 73

Image caption Chris Wilson reading The Eagle in 1952, and as he is now

I was in second year at grammar school in Belfast. At about 12 noon our headmaster came into the classroom and told us in measured tones that His Majesty King George VI had died and we had a new monarch, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

He told us we could go home for the remainder of the day. For once we did not cheer at getting time off.

Some of the girls were crying softly and the boys, too manly to cry - stiff upper lip and all that - processed out quietly. On the way home everyone was quiet.

As schoolboys we felt sad. We had relatives who had served in the forces and we were in the Boys' Brigade and took an oath to the King, which we took very seriously.

Now we had a young, beautiful Queen and we felt for her. We felt as if she had the whole of the weight of the Empire on her shoulders.

I remember the funeral. The whole of Belfast came to a standstill. To us, we had lost the father of the nation.

Sandra Thorne, Hampton, New Brunswick, Canada, age 66

Image caption Sandra Thorne in Canada in 1952, and as she is today

I was just six years old when the Queen came to the throne. My mother was a war bride who had served in the ATS, as had the Queen.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation played sombre music all that day and I remember my mother crying and telling me that the King had died and that Princess Elizabeth was Queen.

We had seen the princess when she visited Canada the previous November. My parents had attended a ball in Saint John - I can remember my mother cut down her wedding dress and sewed a new top of red velvet on it with a large bow with long ties down the back. My sister and I thought she looked like a princess!

She and Dad wore their medals and actually had a chat with the Royal couple.

As a teacher I used to ask my history students about their first historical memory - mine was the death of King George VI and the accession of Princess Elizabeth.

Coming so soon after the war it made a huge impression on Canada and Canadians, so many of whom had served right from the earliest days of the war in 1939.

Eric Jenkins, Puriton, Somerset, age 80

Image caption Eric on horseback near Goose Green school in the Falklands in 1952, and as he is now

I remember the day very clearly.

I was the teacher at Goose Green in the Falkland Islands then and whilst out at the peat stack to get peat for the school fire, a workman passed by and told me that the King had died.

The news was slowly spreading as the settlements were connected by telephone and the more remote places had radio phones.

The children were told by their parents and the people of the settlement were exceptionally subdued. Business went on, but it went on very quietly.

We all felt touched by the event as we were British, even though we were so far away.

As a matter of respect we cancelled the regular Saturday dance, where I would play the fiddle and the accordion.

Image caption The school house at Goose Green in the Falkland Islands in 1952, with the peat stacks alongside

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