explainer

67 years ago, Queen Elizabeth ascended the throne. But she won't be celebrating today.

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Today is a momentous occasion for Queen Elizabeth II.

On this day 67 years ago, Queen Elizabeth ascended to the throne at just 25 years old.

But while the day marks an accomplishment for the Queen, who is the longest-reigning monarch in British history, it’s not an occasion she often celebrates.

In fact, for many reasons, the Queen’s ascension to the throne was a devastating time.

As shown in the first season of The CrownQueen Elizabeth promptly became Queen when her father King George VI died on February 6, 1952, at the age of 56.

Before his death, King George VI had reigned from 1936.

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Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret Rose at King George VI's funeral. Image: Getty.

Although George VI was not first in line to the throne, he became King following the abdication of his older brother, Edward, who abdicated after less than a year as King to marry his mistress.

The news of King George's death broke when Elizabeth was on a tour in Kenya with her husband, Prince Philip.

Philip reportedly delivered the news to his wife personally after hearing a BBC report on the radio that Elizabeth's father had passed away from a coronary thrombosis in his sleep.

Commander Michael Parker, who was with the couple at the time the news broke, said: "[Philip] looked as if you'd dropped half the world on him. He took [The Queen] up to the garden and they walked up and down the lawn while he talked and talked and talked to her. She was sitting erect, fully accepting her destiny. I asked her what name she would take, 'My own, of course.'"

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Devastated by the sudden and tragic loss of her father, Queen Elizabeth promptly returned home where she became Queen by her privy and executive councils shortly after.

"By the sudden death of my dear father I am called to assume the duties and responsibilities of sovereignty," she said in her speech to the accession council.

"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."

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Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. Image: Getty.

Although Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip moved into Buckingham Palace almost immediately upon their return from Kenya, it would be a few months before her coronation ceremony took place.

In June 1953, several months after her father's death, Elizabeth was crowned at Westminster Abbey.

Two of her children, Prince Charles and Princess Anne, who were four and two years old at the time, were also present at the event.

To this day, the Queen generally doesn't hold any public or formal celebrations to mark the anniversary of the accession of the throne due to the loss of her father.

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