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Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip | CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images

England’s current queen has been the head of state long enough that many people either don’t remember or haven’t been around long enough to witness anyone else on the throne other than Her Majesty.

Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne after her father died in 1952. Although she succeeded him the same day he passed away. Her official coronation was held a year and a half later. The reason is due to the tradition of allowing an appropriate length of time between a monarch’s passing and holding a celebration to crown their heir.

So how old was Elizabeth II when she ascended the throne and how did her dad, King  George VI, die?

How did her father, George VI, die?

King George VI
George VI | Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The queen was born Elizabeth Alexandra Mary to Prince Albert, Duke of York, and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon. After the duke’s brother, King Edward VIII, abdicated the throne in 1936 in order to marry an American socialite, Albert was crowned as King George VI. He was the last Emperor of India and the first Head of the Commonwealth.

In the 1940s his health started to deteriorate and his heir, then-Princess Elizabeth, began taking on some of his royal duties and going on official engagements in his place. In 1949, a planned tour to Australia and New Zealand was shelved after the king suffered an arterial blockage. George VI was a heavy smoker for several years and was diagnosed with arteriosclerosis and lung cancer in 1951.

On the morning of Feb. 6, 1952, King George VI was found dead in his bedroom at his Sandringham House in Norfolk. He was 56. At the time his death, Elizabeth and her husband, Philip, were in Kenya. Upon hearing the news, the pair returned to England and Princess Elizabeth flew back home as Queen Elizabeth.

Since his passing, the royals have spent the holidays at the Sandringham house and every year after the rest of the family leaves the estate, Her Majesty and Prince Philip remain at the home to honor King George VI. While they are there, all of the Christmas decorations stay up and are not taken down until the second week of February.

How old was Elizabeth II when she ascended the throne?

Queen Elizabeth II on her coronation day
Queen Elizabeth II on her coronation day | /AFP/Getty Images

At the age of 25, Elizabeth II assumed responsibilities as the ruling monarch. Her coronation took place on June 2, 1953, in Westminster Abbey when she was 27 and for the first time ever the ceremony was broadcast on television. King George VI’s widow, Queen Elizabeth, took on the name the Queen Mother so not to be confused with her daughter.

In 2015, Queen Elizabeth II became the U.K.’s longest-serving monarch and in 2016, after the death of Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej, she became the longest-reigning monarch in the world. Her eldest son, Prince Charles, is the longest-serving heir apparent in the British royal family’s history.

Read more: Does Queen Elizabeth II Have Any Close Friends?

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