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.
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, 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. Her declaration for securing the Protestant succession, as required by the 1689 Bill of Rights and the Accession Declaration Act 1910, was to be made later, at the next state opening of parliament on 4 November.
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.
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. Similar proclamations were issued the same day in New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia.
The Queen's Privy Council for Canada issued the first proclamation of the Queen's accession, doing so on Wednesday, 6 February. It was read at Rideau Hall, in both French and English.
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. A gun-salute was also fired. The bands played God Save The Queen and Namo Namo Matha.
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.The proclamation was signed by Governor-General, members of the Executive Council and others.
In Pakistan, the proclamation on 8 February was surrounded by some of the old splendours of the former Imperial times. A salute of 21 guns was also fired. 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.
Proclamations were also issued in the British overseas territories.
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.
The proclamation of the Queen was issued by the government of Southern Rhodesia in 1952.
Trinidad and TobagoEdit
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.
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.
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.
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- Queen Elizabeth II proclaimed at the Royal Exchange, 6 February 1952
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