How Prince Philip comforted the Queen after hearing of father’s death

The Queen and the late Duke of Edinburgh were in Kenya when the news of King George VI's death broke

How Prince Philip comforted the Queen after father’s death
(Image credit: Getty)

Prince Philip was right at the Queen's side when she heard the devastating news of her father's death, according to a royal source. 

Prince Philip was the one to deliver the heartbreaking news to the Queen of her father's death—and to console the bereft monarch in her darkest hour. 

Princess Elizabeth was on a royal tour of Kenya with her husband, the late Duke of Edinburgh, in early February 1952 when King George VI died suddenly after a complicated lung operation in London. 

On the night of his passing, the young couple was staying at Sagana Lodge, a wedding present from the former colony's government. The King's untimely death left Elizabeth, the eldest of his two daughters, with the incredible duty of ascending the throne at the tender age of 25. 

Princess Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in Kenya

Princess Elizabeth II with Prince Philip in Kenya on 5 February 1952, one day before King George VI died 

(Image credit: Getty)

The Queen has now headed the Royal Family for nearly seven decades, a historic milestone that will soon be commemorated with her Platinum Jubilee 2022

It's understood that the princess learned of her father's death through Prince Philip, who, in turn, had been told of the tragedy by his personal secretary, Mike Parker. 

After turning the radio down to ensure she wouldn't hear what had happened from the press, the Duke escorted his wife into the gardens for a quiet walk. It was during this moment, pacing up and down the sunny lawn, that he chose to gently break the life-changing news. 

Princess Elizabeth II and Prince Philip entering Sagara Lodge in Kenya

Princess Elizabeth II and Prince Philip entering Sagara Lodge in Kenya 

(Image credit: Getty)

The intimate setting gave Her Majesty a rare moment of privacy away from the eyes of her royal courtiers, allowing her to absorb the shocking loss like any regular human being. She then respectfully asked for an hour alone in her room to process her grief, before emerging to discuss the practicalities of returning to Britain. 

Princess Elizabeth II

Princess Elizabeth II arrives in London on 7 February, 1952, for the first time as Queen 

(Image credit: Getty)

According to her royal secretary, Lord Charteris, the Queen was sitting at her desk and looking "very composed, absolute master of her fate" shortly after discovering the news of her father's death. She flew back to London the following day, to begin her new role as Head of State. 

Emma Dooney
Lifestyle News Writer

Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, Emma mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.

Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London, and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.