Princess Elizabeth was in Kenya with Prince Philip after her father, King George VI was too unwell to travel. The pair were sent off to complete a 6 month tour of the commonwealth which would take them to countries such as New Zealand and Australia. On 6th February 1952, the pair has ventured further into the nearby forest to the Treetops Hotel. Unknown to them at the time, Princess Elizabeth’s father had passed away during the night, making her now Queen Elizabeth.
Prince Philip broke the news to the newly appointed Queen that her father, George VI, died on 6 February 1952 and she had then became queen. She had arrived in Nairobi on 1 February and had been staying at Sagana Lodge, near Mount Kenya. After the news of her accession, she returned immediately to the United Kingdom via Entebbe Airport back to London.
The following day, Queen Elizabeth made the proclamation,
“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.”
As part of the commonwealth, Kenya had been a favourite holiday hotspot for the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. Kenya also witnessed the royal engagement of the Duke and the Duchess of Cambridge.
After the Queen’s 70 year reign, and visits to 117 countries, Her Majesty made her final country visit to Malta back in 2015.
Malta holds fond memories for the Queen who spent two years on the island between 1949 and 1951 when Prince Philip was working as a naval officer on HMS Chequers.
The young royal couple lived at Lord Mountbatten’s Villa, Guardamangia, overlooking Valetta Harbour and in 2007 returned to Malta on route to Uganda for a state visit, where they celebrated their Diamond Wedding anniversary and visited the Upper Barrakka Gardens.
1954 was the year of her first visit as Queen; She would return 5 times after this, with 2015 being her last.