Wednesday 23 April 2014

The King is Dead

"Wherever his people suffered, he came." (BBC broadcaster)

A nation mourned the death of their King on February 6, 1952.  Londoners read the headline "The King is Dead", shock and awe spread across their faces.  But no one was more shocked than the Duke of Edinburgh, who received the news four hours after the fact while he was vacationing with Princess Elizabeth in Kenya.  The couple had flown their a week before on official business as the King, suffering from a lung disease, was too sick to do so.  The Windsor's stayed at a treetop resort, where they filmed elephants, baboons and warthogs, from their terrace.  The Princess was so enthralled with her filming that she asked that her tea be brought outside.  Sadly, the duke had to then break the news to her that her father had passed away in his sleep the night before.  Overnight, the Princess had become the Queen.

Back at Sandringham Castle, the King had gone on a hunt the night before and seemed spry enough.  He had played with his two grandchildren, Charles and Anne.  He had dined with his youngest daughter Margaret.  But years of smoking, coupled with the stress of six years at war, had taken their toll on the King. The staff at Sandringham notified Prime Minister Churchill of the King's death, who closed the Parliament for the day.  Londoners dutifully made their way to Westminster Abbey to pay their last respects.  President Truman summed it up with his words:  "He shared to the end of his reign all the hardships and austerities which evil days imposed on the brave British people."  

1 comment: