INTRODUCTION: Elizabeth II became Queen on February 6th 1952 -- 25 year ago next Sunday.?
INTRODUCTION: Elizabeth II became Queen on February 6th 1952 -- 25 year ago next Sunday. She was the first British sovereign for more than two centuries to succeed to the throne while outside the United Kingdom.
SYNOPSIS: King George VI waved goodbye to his elder daughter Princess Elizabeth and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, at London Airport on January 31st. Six days later he died.
The Princess and the Duke were off to Kenya, on the first stage of a five-months' commonwealth tour. They were expecting to go on to Ceylon, Australia and New Zealand. But first, there was a royal welcome, formal and informal, in Nairobi. King George had hoped to make a similar tour himself, but his health was not good enough. So the young people went to represent him.
After two days of official engagements, they went to Sagana Lodge, below Mount Kenya, for a short holiday. The Lodge had ben given to them five years before as a wedding present.
From there, they went to spend a night watching wild life from Treetops, and observation post. They were there when the King died.
The Duke was told. When they got back to Sagana Lodge for breakfast, he told his wife.
Immediately they flew back to London. The Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, and other leaders waited for the Queen. Dressed in black, she came down the aircraft steps to greet them. She was 25 years old. It was a sad homecoming but the start of a new reign.
25 years later, Kenya has not forgotten those days. Treetops has been completely rebuilt, on a much larger scale -- and on the other side of the water-hole that attracts the wild life to the site.
Baboons climb around on the balconies -- sometimes to the surprise at the visitors.
This is the same sort of scene the Princess Elizabeth went to watch -- and probably photograph -- on the day before her father died. A plaque in the new building records her visit and its dramatic ending.
This is the building she actually stayed in. It was burnt down in 1954.
Landislau Nganga -- on the right -- was the cook at the local hotel during the Princess's visit, and cooked her meals. he speaks only Kikuyu, so the hotel manager asked him how he remembered her:
NGANGA: speaking in Kikuyu