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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