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 Shacklock

Emma is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with five years experience working in digital publishing, ranging from book publishing to magazines. She currently looks after all things Lifestyle for Woman&Home, GoodToKnow and My Imperfect Life.

Before she joined Future Publishing, Emma graduated from the University of Warwick with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Comparative Literary Studies. After leaving education, she started out her publishing career in the world of books, working as a Publisher for an independent digital publisher specializing in back-list and debut commercial fiction novels. With a huge book list and a passion for bringing the best stories to the broadest audience possible, Emma filled her spare time with reading the latest best-sellers and catching up on hit adaptations.

In 2017 she joined TI Media as a fiction writing coordinator on Woman’s Weekly and Woman’s Weekly Fiction as part of the features team. From here, she used her love of books, working to bring short stories to our dedicated readers and began writing for the books pages of Woman, Woman’s Own and Woman&Home, as well as online features ranging from genre round-ups to travel pieces for womanandhome.com. 

After honing her skills, Emma branched out online in 2020 when Future gave her the opportunity to focus on digital-first. When she’s not writing about the next big lifestyle trend, she enjoys cooking, long walks and watching as many crime dramas as she can!