If you’ve been watching The Crown on Netflix, you’ll have already gleaned insight into why the Queen is feeling melancholy about her father today.
Princess Elizabeth and her father King George VI, April 1944. PA Wire URN:12688229 | Press Association | AP Images
Today Queen Elizabeth II has become the first British monarch to have reigned for 65 years. We could imagine that this sapphire jubilee would be a time for great celebration, with the usual pomp and circumstance accorded to these royal events. However, on this special day Her Majesty is preferring to reflect on the one person who made her Queen at such a young age: her beloved father King George VI.
If you’ve been watching The Crown on Netflix you’ll have gleaned a little insight into the special relationship the then-Princess Elizabeth shared with her father. She seemed to admire, respect and love him, and those feelings were mutual. Although in his final years the King had started to train his eldest daughter for her future role as Queen—reinforcing in Elizabeth that she should always put God and country before herself—he could never have mentored her in dealing so publicly with losing and grieving her own “papa.” In fact, on the day of her father’s death, she was on a royal tour with her husband Prince Philip to represent her ailing father. Having stopped in Kenya, the royal pair were isolated from the world press and it took some time to inform her of her loss. It was down to Prince Philip to announce the news while on a quiet walk, and she had just a plane ride home to England to absorb the fact that not only had she lost her father, but she was now to be Queen.
It is so easy to forget that behind the persona of the Queen is a woman who lost her father too young. While thanking well-wishers in 2015 on gaining the record for Britain’s longest reigning monarch ever, Elizabeth said, “It’s not one to which I have ever aspired.” Her former press secretary, Dickie Arbiter, said: “It’s important to understand that for the Queen this marks the anniversary of the day her father died. She has always made it clear that her long reign is a consequence of her father’s early death and so it is not a day for celebration.” He added that, “she will go to church the day before and her father will be in her thoughts then. On the day itself, she will do her red boxes [working on official papers] but she won’t be going out and about anywhere.”
However, Her Majesty has marked the occasion in a typically thoughtful manner: she has issued an official jubilee photograph of her taken in 2014 by photographer David Bailey, wearing the beautiful sapphire jewelry aptly gifted to her by her father on her wedding day. The Royal Mail has also issued a commemorative £5 coin dedicated to Elizabeth with words from a famous speech she gave on her 21st birthday: “My whole life whether it be long or short, devoted to your service.”
She has stayed true to her words. She has dedicated her life in duty and while her nation might want to celebrate these 65 years service we wanted to mark this bittersweet anniversary with some candid photos of the then-Princess Elizabeth with her much-loved father King George VI. The beautiful photos show the daddy’s girl who had, and always will have, her father in her heart: the man who helped make her the remarkable woman she is today:
Daddy is hilarious
Dressed up for a walk
A shared love of dogs
Royal duty: becoming King and Princess
Chats in the garden
At the races
Grandpa watches on
King George advising the future heir, Prince Charles
A young Queen in mourning
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