1951, George VI's health declined and Elizabeth frequently stood in for
him at public events. When she toured Canada and visited President
Truman in Washington, D.C. In October 1951, her private secretary,
Martin Charteris, carried a draft accession declaration for use if the
King died while she was on tour. In early 1952, Elizabeth and Philip set
out for a tour of Australia and New Zealand by way of Kenya. On 6
February 1952, they had just returned to their Kenyan home, Sagana
Lodge, after a night spent at Treetops Hotel, when word arrived of the
death of the King. Philip broke the news to the new queen. Martin
Charteris asked her to choose a regnal name; she chose to remain
Elizabeth, "of course".She was proclaimed queen throughout her realms and the royal party hastily returned to the United Kingdom.She and the Duke of Edinburgh moved into Buckingham Palace.
Elizabeth's accession, it seemed probable that the royal house would
bear her husband's name, becoming the House of Mountbatten, in line with
the custom of a wife taking her husband's surname on marriage.
Elizabeth's grandmother, Queen Mary, and British Prime Minister Winston
Churchill favoured the retention of the House of Windsor, and so Windsor
it remained. The Duke complained, "I am the only man in the country not
allowed to give his name to his own children. In 1960, after the death
of Queen Mary in 1953 and the resignation of Churchill in 1955, the
surname Mountbatten-Windsor was adopted for Philip and Elizabeth's
male-line descendants who do not carry royal titles.
preparations for the coronation, Princess Margaret informed her sister
that she wished to marry Peter Townsend, a divorcee 16 years Margaret's
senior, with two sons from his previous marriage. The Queen asked them
to wait for a year; in the words of Martin Charteris, "the Queen was
naturally sympathetic towards the Princess, but I think she thought—she
hoped—given time, the affair would peter out. Senior politicians were
against the match and the Church of England did not permit re-marriage
after divorce. If Margaret contracted a civil marriage, she would be
expected to renounce her right of succession. Eventually, she decided to
abandon her plans with Townsend. In 1960, she married Antony
Armstrong-Jones, who was created Earl of Snowdon the following year.
They were divorced in 1978; she did not remarry.
the death of Queen Mary on 24 March, the coronation went ahead, as Mary
had asked before she died, taking place as planned on 2 June 1953. The
ceremony in Westminster Abbey
with the exception of the anointing and communion, was televised for
the first time. Elizabeth's coronation gown was commissioned from Norman
Hartnell and embroidered on her instructions with the floral emblems of
the Commonwealth countries: English Tudor rose; Scots thistle; Welsh
leek; Irish shamrock; Australian wattle; Canadian maple leaf; New
Zealand silver fern; South African protea; lotus flowers for India and
Ceylon; and Pakistan's wheat, cotton, and jute.
information from: Wikipedia