The King is dead. Long live the Queen

Fife Herald and Journal, February 13, 1952.
Fife Herald and Journal, February 13, 1952.
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“GOD Save the Queen.”

That was how the Fife Herald and Journal introduced its coverage of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne in its issue of Wednesday, February 13, 1952, a week after the death of King George VI.

With the front page taken up by adverts, the young Queen had to settle for top billing on page two — but the paper devoted nearly 10,000 words to local events, church services and tributes surrounding the change of monarch.

The lead article continued: “This prayer for our youthful Queen has been on everyone’s lips since the sad news of the death of her father, King George VI, was intimated so unexpectedly on Wednesday last week.

“Nowhere more than in Cupar and district is the Royal Family held in greater esteem, and the feeling of personal friendship with the Royal household was increased on that memorable day, 28th June 1948, when the King, Queen and Princess Margaret paid a visit to the area with Cupar as their turning point.


“At that time most people who had the opportunity of witnessing the presentation ceremony in the Hood Park were delighted to see his Majesty looking so fit.”

The paper noted that a crowd of between 2000 and 3000 people had gathered at the Cross in Cupar the preceding Friday to hear Sheriff Principal J. A. Lillie QC deliver the Royal Proclamation confirming Elizabeth’s ascent to the throne.

Onlookers included 1050 pupils from Bell Baxter School and another 500 children from Castlehill.


Flags were hung from the windows of nearby homes and businesses, while the dais was decked with patriotic red, white and blue bunting.

The sun, the Herald and Journal said, shone strongly on the historic ceremony out of a clear blue sky.

Speaking in the County Hall after the proclamation, Lord Elgin, The Lord Lieutenant of Fife, said: “The ceremony in which we have just taken part is significant of an end and the beginning, both inspiring loyalty and devotion to the Throne.”

The Town Council paid tribute to George VI in the Town Hall on the morning of the proclamation, ahead of formalising an address of condolence.

Provost Brown told fellow councillors: “We are met in the shadow of a very great loss.

“Our King is dead.

“To those of us in Cupar who had the privilege of meeting him three years ago, he had many fine qualities.

“He was a man with a great sense of humour — a quiet, kindly type of man — and his loss is irreparable.

“He was a fine man and a great King.”