Funeral of King George VI, 1952

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The Funeral of King George VI of Great Britain, the last Emperor of India on this day in 1952. After the King’s death and the return of the new Queen, the coffin laid at Sandringham House until the 9th, when it rested in St Mary Magdalene Church, Sandringham, before being transferred on the 11th for the lying-in-state at Westminster Hall, when 30,000 people walked past the late King.

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On the morning of the 15th, the mile-long cortege began its journey from Westminster Hall as Big Ben tolled fifty-six times and artillery salutes of fifty-six guns were fired in Hyde Park and at the Tower of London (once for each year of the late King’s life). The route went up the Mall, and continued past St James’s Palace to Piccadilly, Hyde Park Corner, Marble Arch, Edgware Road and by Sussex Gardens to Paddington Station. The coffin was followed by the Duke of Edinburgh, the Duke of Gloucester, the Duke of Windsor and the Duke of Kent on foot, and the Queen, the Queen Mother, Princess Margaret and the Princess Royal in a carriage, as well as four field-marshals, four admirals of the fleet, and four marshals of the Royal Air Force, an escort of the Household Cavalry, pipers and the band of the Scots Guards preceded the Earl Marshal and some of the King’s personal servants, walking immediately in front of the gun-carriage bearing the coffin, on which rested the imperial crown, orb and sceptre. The funeral procession ended at Paddington, where the late King’s remains were taken to Windsor by train. Royal Guests included King Haakon of Norway (uncle of the late King), Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard of The Netherlands, King Frederik and Queen Ingrid of Denmark, King Gustaf Adolf and Queen Louise of Sweden, King Paul and Queen Frederica of Greece, Grand Duchess Charlotte and Prince Felix of Luxembourg, King Peter and Queen Alexandra of Yugoslavia, King Michael and Queen Anne of Romania, King Faisal of Iraq, the Crown Prince of Ethiopia, the Crown Prince of Jordan, Prince Albert of Liège, and Prince Ali Reza of Iran.

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On arrival at Windsor, the procession wound its way through the town and the Castle before reaching St. George’s Chapel, where a brief service was held, and two minutes of silence were observed before being interred initially in the Royal Vault until he was transferred to the King George VI Memorial Chapel inside St George’s Chapel in 1969, where he was joined fifty years later (to the day) by Princess Margaret and a month later by the Queen Mother.

15Royal Splendor

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