The Queen – then a princess – was in Kenya at the time of her father George VI’s death in 1952. As next in line to the throne, she became Queen at the tender age of 25.
However, according to people present at the time, one of her first considerations was to her staff.
Pamela Mountbatten, daughter of Lord Louis Mountbatten, was serving as Princess Elizabeth’s lady-in-waiting when the news of George VI’s death came through to them.
She recalled how Prince Philip was told first, and it fell to him to tell wife Elizabeth.
When Lady Pamela met the new Queen later on, she claims the monarch apologised to the staff present because the news meant they all had to go home.
Writing in her memoir, Daughter of Empire, Lady Pamela said, according to the Daily Mirror: “She remained completely calm and said simply: ‘I am so sorry. This means we all have to go home.’”
The royal team then began planning for their journey back to Britain on the BOAC Argonaut aircraft.
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The Queen and Prince Philip were in Kenya on a royal tour, and had been staying at a treetop hotel in the heart of a forest.
King George VI’s funeral was later held at St George’s Chapel, in Windsor, where he is buried.
He himself had become king unexpectedly following the abdication of his brother King Edward in 1936.
This year, Queen Elizabeth II’s reign reached its 69th anniversary, with the Royal Family’s Instagram account marking the occasion with a video.
The monarch is due to turn 95 years old later this year, while husband Prince Philip’s 100th birthday is due in June.