Editor’s Note: The following is an article first published in a special Coronation Supplement on June 2, 1953 in The Sherbrooke Daily Record, offering a glimpse into the daily life of Elizabeth II after she was named to the throne.
Elizabeth’s Multiple Duties Leave Her with Little Free Time
By James F. King
When she became Queen, Elizabeth, wearing slacks and a bush jacket, was perched in a giant fig tree watching rhinoceroses coming out of the African jungle to drink.
Since childhood she had been drilled in the art of Royal deportment, of combining the regal manner with democratic understanding, of making pleasant small talk with strangers, of being both a symbol and a human being.
And when the moment came for her to assume the responsibilities of the Crown she was in a spot so remote that she did not learn of it until 12 hours later.
King George VI, who left a sick bed only a week before to see Elizabeth and her husband, Philip, off on a 30,000-mile royal tour that was scheduled to take them to Australia and New Zealand, died in his sleep in Sandrigham, Feb. 6, 1952. Elizabeth, stopping off in Kenya in East Africa for a look at one of Britain’s most promising and habitable colonies-Mau Mau terrorists were not yet active- received the news the next afternoon.
Even on her flight back to London the heartbroken 25-year-old girl was handed a batch of state papers to sign, the beginning of a daily ritual that would continue the rest of her life.
She bore up under her grief and responsibilities with all the dignity and humility in which she had been trained.
“I pray that God will help me to discharge worthily this heavy task that has been laid upon me so early in life,” she told her privy council at the first meeting in London.
Elizabeth set the keynote of her reign in a broadcast last Christmas calling on the people for abiding faith in the British way of life and to “venture beyond the safeties of the past.”
Elizabeth probably is one of the busiest young women in the world with her duties as wife, mother and queen. She lives by a well-ordered timetable which sometimes is arranged as much as a year in advance.
Her office in the Belgian suite on the ground floor of Buckingham Palace is much like any office of a young woman business executive.
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