Flowers are being laid on the grave of George VI at Windsor today to mark the 67th anniversary of his death. The Queen’s father, who died in his sleep on February 6th 1952, is buried at St. George’s Chapel.
A wreath of seasonal flowers in yellow and regal purple is among the tributes being left for the monarch who was 56 when he passed away at Sandringham in Norfolk. He had been king for sixteen years after unexpectedly taking the throne in December 1936 on the abdication of his older brother, King Edward VIII.
George VI’s death was as unexpected as his accession. He had been suffering from ill health for some time but appeared well when he went to London Airport at the end of January 1952 to wave off his elder daughter, Elizabeth, who was undertaking a Commonwealth tour on his behalf. It would be the last time the king was seen in public. His valet discovered he had died when he went to wake him on that February morning. Elizabeth returned to London as Queen just hours later.
The king’s funeral took place on February 15th 1952 at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor. Before that, tens of thousands of people had paid tribute to him as his coffin lay in state at Westminster Hall, queuing for hours to file past and say their own goodbye. George had been a popular monarch who was well respected and admired for his devotion to duty, particularly during World War Two.
He was initially laid to rest in the Royal Vault but his coffin was moved, in 1969, to the King George VI Memorial Chapel at St. George’s. His wife, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, was buried there, too, following her death in March 2002. The ashes of their younger daughter Princess Margaret, who died in February 2002, were interred next to her parents.
The Queen will spend the anniversary of her father’s death and her own accession quietly at Sandringham.