For Queen Elizabeth, it was to be a relaxing, wildlife-watching stop in Kenya during what was set to be a long tour while her ailing father, King George VI, rested back home in England.
But everything changed on February 6, 1952, when George died of a blood clot — making his direct heir and elder daughter, Elizabeth, the new monarch at age 25.
Lady Pamela Hicks, a cousin of Elizabeth’s husband Prince Philip and one of the couple’s bridesmaids, was a witness to history during that fateful trip.
“My mother remembered very clearly that when she heard the news, she paced up and down, up and down with Philip and the ladies-in-waiting and the private secretary,” Lady Pamela’s daughter India Hicks, an entrepreneur and the founder of lifestyle site IndiaHicks.com, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. The moment is gaining renewed attention thanks to the success of the hit Netflix series The Crown.
“Finally when the Queen had gathered herself, she said, ‘I’m so sorry, but we are going to have to go back to England,’ ” says Hicks. “That was so indicative of the Queen that she would have apologized for something like that. They all said, ‘Don’t be ridiculous.’ …read more