Why this weekend’s significant milestone will be tinged with heartbreak for the Queen

February 6 holds a lot of memories for the monarch

Queen Elizabeth II visits the Royal British Legion Industries village to celebrate the charity's centenary year on November 6, 2019
(Image credit: Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

The Queen is set to reach another huge milestone this Saturday as February 6 marks the 69th year since she first ascended to the throne.

Queen Elizabeth II is already Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, having surpassed the reign length of her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, back in 2015. She was crowned in a spectacular ceremony at Westminster Abbey in June 1953. And whilst many might have imagined this marked the start of the Queen’s reign, they would be wrong. 

Though this huge public occasion was the official coronation, the Queen actually became the monarch of the United Kingdom a year earlier. 

In February 1952, the then-Princess Elizabeth received the news that her beloved father, King George VI, had passed away. 

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It’s been reported that Princess Elizabeth first heard about her father’s death whilst on a trip to Kenya in 1952. 

She and Prince Philip had supposedly been due to travel to Australia and New Zealand, however, the tour was cancelled and they returned home to the UK in light of the devastating family news.

How does the Queen usually mark this heartbreaking anniversary?

It’s understood that the Queen traditionally pays tribute to her late father on this sad day at Sandringham House where King George VI reportedly passed away in his sleep. The monarch usually travels to the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk for Christmas, celebrating the festivities there, before returning to Buckingham Palace after this date February.

Though traditionally it’s seen as bad luck for festive decorations to stay up past January 5, it’s thought that the Queen leaves hers up until after this poignant anniversary. This year due to the ongoing effects of the pandemic, the Queen and Prince Philip chose to remain at Windsor Castle and celebrate Christmas there.

As a result of the current UK lockdown restrictions, the Queen will sadly not be able to mark this moving anniversary at Sandringham as usual.

Though it seems likely that Her Majesty will still pay tribute to her late father in another heartfelt way this Saturday.

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with eight years experience working in publishing. Her specialist areas include the British Royal Family, ranging from protocol to outfits. Alongside putting her royal knowledge to good use, Emma knows all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV and more. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, Emma enjoys cooking, long walks and watching yet more crime dramas!