Proclamation of accession of Elizabeth II

Elizabeth II was proclaimed queen throughout the Commonwealth after her father, King George VI, died in the early hours of 6 February 1952, while Elizabeth was in Kenya. Proclamations were made in different Commonwealth realms on 6, 7, 8, and 11 February (depending on geographic location and time zone). The line of succession was identical in all the Commonwealth realms, but the royal title as proclaimed was not the same in all of them.

The proclamation of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II to the Australian throne being read at Queensland's Government House by Governor Sir John Lavarack

United KingdomEdit

In the United Kingdom, the Accession Council met twice at St James's Palace: first at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, 6 February, before the Queen had returned from Kenya, to make their proclamation declaring the accession of the new sovereign, as the late king's successor in accordance with the line of succession to the British throne,[1] and, secondly, at a meeting begun at 10 a.m. on Friday, 8 February, when the Queen was personally present, to receive her oath for the security of the Church of Scotland and her own personal declaration, pledging that she would always work to uphold constitutional government and to advance the happiness and prosperity of her peoples all the world over.[2] Her declaration for securing the Protestant succession, as required by the 1689 Bill of Rights and the Accession Declaration Act 1910,[3] was to be made later, at the next state opening of parliament on 4 November.[4]

After the Accession Council had completed the formalities for their proclamation on 6 February, it had been issued for publication in a supplement to that day's London Gazette:[5]

WHEREAS it hath pleased Almighty God to call to His Mercy our late Sovereign Lord King George the Sixth of Blessed and Glorious memory, by whose Decease the Crown is solely and rightfully come to the High and Mighty Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary:
WE, therefore, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of this Realm, being here assisted with these His late Majesty's Privy Council, with representatives of other Members of the Commonwealth, with other Principal Gentlemen of Quality, with the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and Citizens of London, do now hereby with one voice and Consent of Tongue and Heart publish and proclaim that the High and Mighty Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary is now, by the death of our late Sovereign of happy memory, become Queen Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God Queen of this Realm and of all Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, to whom Her lieges do acknowledge all Faith and constant Obedience with hearty and humble Affection, beseeching God by whom Kings and Queens do reign, to bless the Royal Princess Elizabeth the Second with long and happy Years to reign over us.
Given at St. James's Palace this Sixth Day of February in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and fifty-two.


The accession proclamation was published in The Times on 7 February, quoting the London Gazette. According to the Times, it was expected that the public proclamation would be made in due form by the heralds of the College of Arms. The practice had been to read it first from the Friary Court balcony at St James's Palace and, in the City of London, the custom had been to lay it before the Court of Aldermen and to read it, after a ceremony at Temple Bar, London, at the corner of Chancery Lane, in Fleet Street, and at the Royal Exchange.

After the meeting with the Queen at St James's Palace in the morning of 8 February, the accession proclamation was read to the public by the Garter King of Arms, Sir George Bellew, first at 11 a.m. from the Friary Court balcony, then in Trafalgar Square, in Fleet Street, and at the Royal Exchange.[2][6]

Commonwealth realmsEdit

Each of the Commonwealth realms issued similar proclamations of the accession of the Queen.


The Governor-General of Australia, Sir William McKell, issued the proclamation of Elizabeth's accession as Queen of Australia on Thursday, 7 February. It was read from the steps of Parliament House.[7][8] Similar proclamations were issued the same day in New South Wales,[9] South Australia,[10] Victoria[11] and Western Australia.[12]


The Queen's Privy Council for Canada issued the first proclamation of the Queen's accession,[13][14] doing so on Wednesday, 6 February.[14] It was read at Rideau Hall, in both French and English.[15][16]


In Ceylon, the Queen was proclaimed separately as the Queen of Ceylon through a proclamation signed by the Governor-General and the members of the Cabinet. On the morning of February 8, 1952, this proclamation was read from the steps of Parliament House, Colombo in three principal languages of Ceylon: English, Sinhalese and Tamil, to the large crowds outside.[17] A gun-salute was also fired. The bands played God Save The Queen and Namo Namo Matha.[18][19]

New ZealandEdit

The Governor-General of New Zealand, Sir Bernard Freyberg, proclaimed the Queen's accession in New Zealand on Monday, 11 February, attended by the Chief Justice, Sir Humphrey O'Leary, and members of the Executive Council, who took the oath of allegiance after the ceremony.[20]The proclamation was signed by Governor-General, members of the Executive Council and others.[21][22]


In Pakistan, the proclamation on 8 February was surrounded by some of the old splendours of the former Imperial times.[23] A salute of 21 guns was also fired.[24] The proclamation, which was signed by the Secretary to the Government of Pakistan, was simpler than many of the other proclamations, just stating the fact of the Queen’s accession.[25][26]

South AfricaEdit

The Governor-General of the Union of South Africa, Ernest George Jansen, proclaimed the Queen's accession in Cape Town on Thursday, 7 February, in English and in Afrikaans.[27]

Overseas territoriesEdit

Proclamations were also issued in the British overseas territories.


The proclamation was issued in Barbados on Friday, 8 February 1952.[28]


On 8 February, the Governor of Bermuda Alexander Hood read the proclamation of the Queen's accession from a small dais near the steps of the Public Buildings. The ceremony, witnessed by a crowd of several thousand people, concluded by playing of the National Anthem, and then a 21-gun salute at Hamilton's harbour. When the salute was over, the Governor called for "Three cheers for Her Majesty the Queen", waving his helmet in his right hand.[29][30]


The proclamation was issued in Cyprus on Friday, 8 February 1952.[31]

Falkland IslandsEdit

The proclamation was issued in the Falkland Islands on Friday, 8 February 1952.[32]


The proclamation was issued in Grenada on Friday, 8 February 1952.[33]


The proclamation was issued in Kenya on Friday, 8 February 1952.[34]


The proclamation was issued in Mauritius on Friday, 8 February 1952.[35]

Saint VincentEdit

The proclamation was issued in Saint Vincent on Friday, 8 February 1952.[36]


The proclamation was issued in Sarawak on 9 February 1952.[37]


The proclamation was issued in Seychelles on Friday, 8 February 1952.[38]


In Singapore, the proclamation was made by the Governor at a ceremony attended by thousands on the Padang on 9 February 1952.[39]

Southern RhodesiaEdit

The proclamation of the Queen was issued by the government of Southern Rhodesia in 1952.[40]

Trinidad and TobagoEdit

The proclamation was issued in Trinidad and Tobago on Friday, 8 February 1952.[41]

Turks and Caicos IslandsEdit

After the announcement of George VI's death had been formally communicated to the Legislative Board of Turks and Caicos Islands (at that time a dependency of Jamaica, itself then a Crown colony), a proclamation was issued and published there on Friday, 8 February.[42]

Royal titleEdit

The proclamation in the United Kingdom marked the first inclusion, by an Accession Council, of the title Head of the Commonwealth, and the first reference to "representatives of other Members of the Commonwealth" as among those proclaiming. Also, the Crown, which had been referred to as the Imperial Crown of Great Britain and Ireland, was also now non-specific, and Elizabeth's title was not her official one. These last two points reflected the existence of the Republic of Ireland (Ireland would not be officially removed from the Queen's title until the year following), as well as the sovereignty of countries over which Elizabeth was now separately Queen. However, the Canadian proclamation, necessarily separate due to the country's legal independence from the UK, continued to refer to the new sovereign as Queen of Ireland, and the Crown she inherited as being that of "Great Britain, Ireland and all other His late Majesty's dominions." Elizabeth was also proclaimed Queen of Ireland in South Africa.[43]

Changes of the royal style and title in any realm do not as such change the constitutional status or position of the monarch or the Crown.[44]

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ "06 February 1952". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). United Kingdom: House of Lords. 6 February 1952.
  2. ^ a b "Elizabeth's Pledge as Queen Heavy Task Accepted", The West Australian, 9 February 1952, retrieved 22 April 2013
  3. ^ Maer, Lucinda; Gay, Oonagh (27 August 2008), The Coronation Oath, Queen's Printer
  4. ^ Parliament of the United Kingdom (November 2011), Written evidence submitted by Professor Robert Blackburn, PhD, LLD, Professor of Constitutional Law, King's College London, Queen's Printer, retrieved 22 April 2013
  5. ^ "No. 39458". The London Gazette (1st supplement). 6 February 1952. p. 757.
  6. ^ "1952: New Queen proclaimed for UK". BBC. 4 May 2007. Retrieved 22 April 2013.
  7. ^ "Proclamation of the accession of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, from the steps of Parliament House, Canberra, 1952 Feb. 8". National Library of Australia. Retrieved 1 July 2011.
  8. ^ "PROCLAMATION". Commonwealth of Australia Gazette. 7 February 1952. Retrieved 3 June 2021 – via Trove.
  9. ^ "A PROCLAMTION". Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales. 8 February 1952. Retrieved 27 April 2022.
  10. ^ "PROCLAMTION" (PDF). South Australian Government Gazette. 8 February 1952. Retrieved 27 April 2022.
  11. ^ "PROCLAMTION". Victoria Government Gazette. 8 February 1952. Retrieved 27 April 2022.
  12. ^ "PROCLAMTION" (PDF). Government Gazette of Western Australia. 8 February 1952. Retrieved 27 April 2022.
  13. ^ Bell, Lynne L.; Bousfield, Gary (2007), Queen and Consort: Elizabeth and Phillip, 60 Years of Marriage, Toronto: Dundrun Press, p. 143, ISBN 9781550027259
  14. ^ a b Toffoli, Gary. "Queen Elizabeth in 3D: Facts About the Monarchy". CBC. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
  15. ^ Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (1952), Documents on Canadian External Relations, vol. 18, Queen's Printer for Canada, archived from the original on 15 May 2013, retrieved 20 December 2009
  16. ^ Rinfret, Thibaudeau (6 February 1952), "Notice and Proclamations", in Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (ed.), Documents on Canadian External Relations, vol. 14–1, Ottawa: Queen's Printer for Canada, archived from the original on 15 May 2013, retrieved 8 October 2009
  17. ^ Tyagi, A. R., The Working of Parliamentary Democracy in Ceylon, Sultan Chand, pp. 52–53
  18. ^ Barker, Brian (1976), When the Queen was crowned, Routledge & Kegan Paul, p. 28, ISBN 9780710083975
  19. ^ Jennings, Sir Ivor (1953), The Constitution of Ceylon, Indian Branch, Oxford University Press, p. 45
  20. ^ A.A.P.-Reuter (9 February 1952), "Proclamation in N.Z. on Monday", The Canberra Times, retrieved 18 April 2013
  21. ^ Today in History, 8 February 1952.
  22. ^ A PROCLAMATION (PDF), The New Zealand Gazette, 11 February 1952, archived from the original (PDF) on 3 June 2021, retrieved 3 June 2021
  23. ^ Barker, Brian (1976), When the Queen was crowned, Routledge & Kegan Paul, p. 29, ISBN 9780710083975
  24. ^ Page 513
  25. ^ Select Documents on the Constitutional History of the British Empire and Commonwealth: The dominions and India since 1900, Greenwood Press, 1985, p. 183
  26. ^ The Table: Volumes 20-23, Butterworth., 1952, p. 112
  27. ^ Government of South Africa (7 February 1952). "Proclamation No. 12 of 1952". Government Gazette Extraordinary. Queen's Printer. CLXVII (4781).
  28. ^ Subsidiary Legislation for the year 1952 with index by the Attorney General of Barbados, 1952, p. 2
  29. ^ "GOVERNOR READS PROCLAMATION HERE TO CROWD OF THOUSANDS", The Royal Gazette, 9 February 1952, retrieved 17 June 2021
  30. ^ The Bermudian: Volume 23, Bermudian Publishing Company Limited, 1952
  31. ^ The Cyprus Gazette (PDF), 1952, p. 71
  32. ^ FALKLAND ISLANDS GAZETTE, 1952. (PDF), p. 27, archived from the original (PDF) on 23 April 2021
  33. ^ Grenada Government Gazette, 8 February 1952, pp. 37–38
  34. ^ THE OFFICIAL GAZETTE OF THE COLONY AND PROTECTORATE OF KENYA (PDF), 8 February 1952, archived from the original (PDF) on 18 June 2021
  35. ^ Revised Laws of Mauritius, 1981. Attorney-General's Office. p. 75. Retrieved 29 April 2022.
  36. ^ SAINT VINCENT GOVERNMENT GAZETTE, 8 February 1952, archived from the original on 18 June 2021
  37. ^ Sarawak Government Gazette, 9 February 1952, p. 116
  38. ^ Supplement to Seychelles Gazette, 11 February 1952, p. 6
  39. ^ "Colony of Singapore Annual Report 1952". Government Printing Orrice, Singapore. Retrieved 29 April 2022.
  40. ^ Documents and speeches on British Commonwealth affairs, 1931-1952. Oxford University Press. 1953. p. 1292. Retrieved 10 May 2022.
  41. ^ Trinidad Royal Gazettte, 8 February 1952, p. 85
  42. ^ "Queen Elizabeth II". Turks and Caicos National Museum. Archived from the original on 4 October 2011.
  43. ^ "Proclamations of Accession of English and British Sovereigns (1547-1952)". Heraldica. Retrieved 20 December 2009.
  44. ^ Noel Cox The Development of a Separate Crown in New Zealand[1] Archived 2011-07-15 at the Wayback Machine which considers also the positions of Australia and Canada; and see Noel Cox LLM (Hons), PhD, Lecturer, Auckland University of Technology, in Murdoch University Electronic Journal of Law Volume 9, Number 3 (September 2002): Black v Chrétien: Suing a Minister of the Crown for Abuse of Power, Misfeasance in Public Office and Negligence (Ontario Court of Appeal).[2]

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