The Sunday Mail (Queensland)

QUEEN EL­IZ­A­BETH II Crowned a queen and Aus­tralia re­joices

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On Fe­bru­ary 6, 1952, Princess El­iz­a­beth and Prince Philip were in a re­mote part of Kenya on an of­fi­cial tour when they re­ceived ter­ri­ble news: her ail­ing fa­ther, King Ge­orge VI, was dead. El­iz­a­beth was no longer a princess — she was a queen.

The cou­ple flew home, can­celling their planned trip to Aus­tralia. Prime Min­is­ter Win­ston Churchill met them at the air­port.

Queen El­iz­a­beth II was crowned in a solemn cer­e­mony at Westminste­r Abbey on June 2, 1953, vow­ing to serve her coun­try her whole life.

The coro­na­tion was con­ducted by Dr Ge­of­frey Fisher, Arch­bishop of Can­ter­bury, and at­tended by world lead­ers, in­clud­ing Aus­tralian Prime Min­is­ter Robert Men­zies, a great ad­mirer.

Crowds flocked to view the pro­ces­sion, it was broad­cast on ra­dio around the world and for the first time, through the magic of tele­vi­sion, hun­dreds of thou­sands of view­ers glimpsed the pageantry and splen­dour of a coro­na­tion.

On Fe­bru­ary 3, 1954, as part of a six­month grand tour of the Com­mon­wealth, the Queen and Prince Philip vis­ited Aus- tralia — the first reign­ing monarch to set foot on Aus­tralian soil. They steamed into Farm Cove in Syd­ney to a sen­sa­tional welcome by thou­sands of small craft toot­ing their horns. There was a 21-gun salute and huge crowds cheer­ing wildly.

The cou­ple’s tour took in ev­ery state ex­cept the North­ern Ter­ri­tory. The whole coun­try was swept up by the roy­als and it is thought three-quar­ters of all Aus­tralians glimpsed the Queen dur­ing that mo­men­tous visit. Some 70,000 ex-ser­vice­men and women wel­comed her at the MCG. A year later, South Aus­tralia named a town north of Ade­laide, El­iz­a­beth, af­ter her.

1. Tiny fans:

War­riewood’s Lorraine, Carolyne and Ron­nie Rush­ton wait to greet the new Queen. Photo: Jimmy Wran­gles

Aerial view of the Queen’s mo­tor­cade in Ade­laide in March 1954.

2. Mass fol­low­ing:

3. Crown­ing glory:

Queen El­iz­a­beth II on Buck­ing­ham Palace’s bal­cony af­ter her coro­na­tion. Pic­ture: Hulton Archive/Getty Im­ages

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