When John Batchelor got here down for breakfast on a chilly winter morning in February 1952, he noticed “the King is lifeless” handwritten in pencil on a board. He was at a preparatory college in Farnborough – a city in southeastern England.
He vividly recalled the day he obtained the information, his shock and shock aged 10, unable to totally comprehend the king’s extended sickness.
“All of us needed to regulate to the truth that a really younger lady had now change into Queen. She was in Kenya and he or she wanted to be introduced again as a result of it was a horrible shock to her,” Professor Batchelor, 80, says from his house in Oxford of the second King George VI died.
The king’s loss of life and funeral in 1952 stand in sharp distinction to the extremely televised funeral procession of his daughter Queen Elizabeth II at present.
At boarding college, Batchelor says there was a solemn assembly the place the boys sang songs for the late king.
With out tv, radio and every day newspapers have been their main sources of data.
A picture of the three queens wearing black within the newspapers stood out: the younger Queen Elizabeth II, the Queen Mom and Queen Mary ready for George VI’s coffin.
The late Muriel Anne Baylis wrote in a reminiscence e book for her granddaughter how George VI’s funeral was some of the memorable world occasions she witnessed in her lifetime.
She and a pal joined crowds on London’s embankment to observe the funeral cortege go by.
“The entire silence of respect, folks admired him,” she wrote within the e book.
As a younger woman Pauline Worsley, an 87-year-old from Liverpool, had a scrapbook of newspaper clippings of the queen and princess Margaret. She was 17 and labored as a tracer in a authorities workplace when information of George VI’s loss of life broke.
From the every day newspapers, Worsley had seen images of the younger Princess Elizabeth leaving for Kenya along with her husband the Duke of Edinburgh.
“King George VI was in very poor well being on the time. It was a chilly day,” Worsley remembers, recalling him trying poorly.
“He was a well-liked king, it was an important disappointment,” she added.
However she doesn’t keep in mind being significantly affected by the occasions in London and didn’t journey for the funeral.
The truth that (Queen Elizabeth) was solely 25 when she inherited the crown, it was an enormous factor for her to tackle her shoulder and he or she mastered it properly, Worsley added.
Henrietta Batchelor, who grew up in East Grinstead in Sussex, was solely five-years-old when George VI died.
Her reminiscences of his funeral are scant as a result of, in these days, she mentioned, youngsters weren’t allowed to attend funerals or speak about loss of life. However she remembers a way of collective grief.
“I did hear it on the radio on the BBC house service, the gloom, my dad and mom’ solemn faces. I don’t suppose I understood very a lot,” she mentioned.
Her dad and mom instructed her it was surprising however in hindsight, she wonders how may or not it’s: “he had most cancers for years.”
A publicly broadcast coronation
An entire 15 months glided by between George VI’s loss of life and Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation came about in Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953. The ceremony was broadcast on tv for the primary time on the request of the younger queen.
By then, Henrietta Batchelor mentioned, lots of people had tv.
Her dad and mom resisted the “new-fangled gadget”, so she went to a neighbour’s place to observe the procession down the mall and into Westminster Cathedral.
She additionally recalled the pageantry of her area people re-enacting the 1559 coronation of Queen Elizabeth I.
Villages like ours have been inspired to depict what might need occurred on the coronation of Elizabeth I, Batchelor says.
“My mom had a horse with pink hair and rode facet saddle. Now that was actually thrilling. And it was actually troublesome to experience facet saddle and he or she did that,” she mentioned.
Professor Batchelor, in the meantime, recalled viewing the ceremony from the Ritz lodge’s balcony in London.
“The corporate that employed my father took a flooring within the Ritz lodge for workers’ youngsters to observe the coronation procession from their balconies.”
At 11, he remembered the unseasonal pouring rain and the luxurious meals after the Second World Struggle which he had by no means seen earlier than.
”It was fairly a shock, there was trendy French meals like ‘le petit poulet’. I used to be fully unfamiliar with all this,” he mentioned.
He recalled that Westminster choir boys sang “Vivat Regina.” Essentially the most transferring second for him was when the Duke of Edinburgh paid homage to the newly topped monarch.
“It was a rare feeling of this younger couple additionally having to watch this medieval custom.”
On a vibrant Friday afternoon outdoors Buckingham Palace, thronged with queues, Barbara Gellis, 77, and her granddaughter took a second to mirror after paying respect to the Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II inside Westminster Abbey.
She arrived early Thursday afternoon along with her granddaughter and queued for eight hours to see her majesty mendacity in state. Gellis additionally attended the funeral of Princess Diana in 1997.
When King George VI died, Gellis was in class in Northern Eire and the one manner she came upon he died was after the God Save the King anthem had modified to God Save the Queen.
She additionally remembers the Queen’s coronation properly.
“I used to be at sports activities day in Northern Eire, I might have been seven years outdated,” she mentioned, including that they didn’t go away the tv.
After enduring airport-style safety and zig-zag queues in Westminster backyard, she was moved to tears talking of her “magical” expertise inside.
Her granddaughter Emma shocked her with last-minute tickets to London to pay their respects.
“The safety folks have been pretty, the entire manner by, they directed you. There was water being handed round by the hearth brigade,” she mentioned, not sure when and if an occasion of such international significance is more likely to occur any time quickly.