Proclamation of accession of Elizabeth II
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Queen Elizabeth II was proclaimed sovereign throughout her realms after the death of her father, King George VI, who died in the night between 5 and 6 February 1952 while she was in Kenya. Proclamations were made in different realms on 6, 7, 8, and 11 February (depending on geographic location and time zone). The line of succession was identical in all the Commonwealth realms, but the royal title as proclaimed was not the same in all of them.
The Governor-General of Australia, Sir William McKell, issued the proclamation of Elizabeth's accession as Queen of Australia. On Friday, 8 February It was read from the steps of Parliament House as follows:
The Governor-General of New Zealand, Sir Bernard Freyberg, proclaimed the Queen's accession in on Monday, 11 February, attended by the Chief Justice, Sir Humphry O'Leary, and members of the Executive Council, who took the oath of allegiance after the ceremony. The proclamation, published in The New Zealand Gazette, read, in part, as follows:
In the United Kingdom, the Accession Council met twice at St James's Palace: first at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, 6 February, before the Queen had returned from Kenya, to make their proclamation declaring the accession of the new sovereign, as the deceased king's successor in accordance with the line of succession to the British throne, and, secondly, at a meeting begun at 10 a.m. on Friday, 8 February, when the Queen was personally present, to receive her oath for the security of the Church of Scotland and her own personal declaration, pledging that she would always work to uphold constitutional government and to advance the happiness and prosperity of her peoples all the world over. Her declaration for securing the Protestant succession, as required under the Coronation Oath Act 1688, the Act of Settlement and the Accession Declaration Act 1910, was to be made later, at the next state opening of parliament on 4 November.
After the Accession Council had completed the formalities for their proclamation on 6 February, it had been issued for publication in a supplement to that day's London Gazette:
As so approved by the members of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom, the Lord Mayor of the City of London, and representatives of Commonwealth countries who had met at St James's Palace, the accession proclamation was published in The Times on 7 February, quoting the London Gazette. According to the Times, it was expected that the public proclamation would be made in due form by the heralds of the College of Arms. The practice had been to read it first from the Friary Court balcony at St James's Palace and, in the City of London, the custom had been to lay it before the Court of Aldermen and to read it, after a ceremony at Temple Bar, London, at the corner of Chancery Lane, in Fleet Street, and at the Royal Exchange.
After the meeting with the Queen at St James's Palace in the morning of 8 February, the accession proclamation was read to the public by the Garter King of Arms, Sir George Bellew, first at 11 a.m. from the Friary Court balcony, then in Trafalgar Square, in Fleet Street, and at the Royal Exchange.
After the announcement of the King's death had been formally communicated to the Legislative Board of Turks and Caicos Islands (at that time a dependency of Jamaica, itself then a Crown colony of the UK), a proclamation was issued and published there on Friday, 8 February.
The proclamation in the United Kingdom marked the first inclusion, by an Accession Council, of the title Head of the Commonwealth, and the first reference to "representatives of other Members of the Commonwealth" as among those proclaiming. Also, the Crown, which previously was referred to as the Imperial Crown of Great Britain and Ireland, was also now non-specific, and Elizabeth's title was not her official one. These last two points reflected the existence of the Republic of Ireland (Ireland would not be officially removed from the Queen's title until the year following), as well as the sovereignty of countries over which Elizabeth was now separately queen. However, the Canadian proclamation, necessarily separate due to the country's legal independence from the UK, continued to refer to the new sovereign as Queen of Ireland, and the Crown she inherited as being that of "Great Britain, Ireland and all other His late Majesty's dominions." Elizabeth was also proclaimed Queen of Ireland in South Africa.
Changes of the royal style and title in any realm do not as such change the constitutional status or position of the monarch or the Crown.
- "Proclamation of the accession of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, from the steps of Parliament House, Canberra, 1952 Feb. 8". National Library of Australia. Retrieved 1 July 2011.
- Bell, Lynne L.; Bousfield, Gary (2007), Queen and Consort: Elizabeth and Phillip, 60 Years of Marriage, Toronto: Dundrun Press, p. 143, ISBN 9781550027259
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- Government of South Africa (7 February 1952). "Proclamation No. 12 of 1952". Government Gazette Extraordinary (Queen's Printer). CLXVII (4781).
- "6 February 1952". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard) (United Kingdom: House of Lords).
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- Maer, Lucinda; Gay, Oonagh (27 August 2008), The Coronation Oath, Queen's Printer
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- Noel Cox The Development of a Separate Crown in New Zealand which considers also the positions of Australia and Canada; and see Noel Cox LLM (Hons), PhD, Lecturer, Auckland University of Technology, in Murdoch University Electronic Journal of Law Volume 9, Number 3 (September 2002): Black v Chrétien: Suing a Minister of the Crown for Abuse of Power, Misfeasance in Public Office and Negligence (Ontario Court of Appeal).