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1952: New Queen proclaimed for UK
Princess Elizabeth has formally proclaimed herself Queen and Head of the Commonwealth and Defender of the Faith.

Lords of the Council - numbering 150 - representatives from the Commonwealth, officials from the City of London - including the Lord Mayor - and other dignitaries witnessed the accession of the deceased king's eldest daughter this morning.

The new monarch read an official Proclamation - also ordered to be published - declaring her reign as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second.

I shall always work to advance the happiness and prosperity of my peoples
Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II read: "By the sudden death of my dear father I am called to assume the duties and responsibilities of sovereignty."

"My heart is too full for me to say more to you today than I shall always work, as my father did throughout his reign, to advance the happiness and prosperity of my peoples, spread as they are all the world over."

Her husband, Prince Philip of Greece, the Duke of Edinburgh, was also present at the 20 minute meeting at St James's Palace.

The couple returned to the UK yesterday after cutting short a tour of the Commonwealth - beginning in Kenya a week ago - because of King George VI's sudden death on 6 February.

After the Accession Declaration, at 1000 GMT, the new Queen held her first Privy Council meeting and her Proclamation was signed by the Lord Chancellor, the prime minister, and many other privy counsellors along with representatives of the Commonwealth and the City and the Lord Mayor of London.

During the ceremonies the 25-year-old Queen also took an oath to assure the security of the Church of Scotland and approved several other Orders in Council.

Other dignitaries formally announced the new sovereign across the UK and Commonwealth.

In a statement this evening the Home Secretary, Sir David Fyfe, asked the nation for two minutes' silence on 15 February when the late King will be buried at St George's Chapel, Windsor.

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Photograph of trumpeters endorse the new sovereign's proclamation
Trumpeters sound the accession of the new monarch and Defender of the Faith

The new Queen returns from Kenya

In Context
King George VI's body lay in state in the Great Hall in Westminster from 11 February until the funeral.

Many thousands of people queued for hours to pay their respects.

His funeral was held on 15 February 1952.

Queen Elizabeth II's coronation was held in Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953.

In 2002 the Queen enjoyed a year of celebrations and special visits to commemorate 50 years on the British throne.

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