Today in History, February 6, 1952:

Treetops Hotel, Kenya.

While on a tour of colonial assets, Princess Elizabeth is notified that her father, King George VI, had passed, ascending her to the throne. She chose to keep her name, becoming Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, including England, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Commonwealth. At that time the Empire included many other nations that have since become independent.

Queen Elizabeth, who had been the heir apparent since 1936, still reigns after 68 years, making her the longest reigning sovereign of the British Empire.

Sir Winston Churchill, Knight of the Garter

Today in History, April 24, 1953:

British Prime Minister Winston Spencer Churchill is Knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, making him a Knight of the Garter.

The Queen had wanted to make Churchill a Knight as Duke of London, a new and dynamic position, but he declined since this would require his son and other descendants to live at a certain financial level that they may not be able to sustain.

Born in 1874, Churchill had served with distinction in the Boer War as a young man, been a major player in the First World War as Lord of the Admiralty, and then been banished to the political “wilderness” for ten years leading into WWII. During those years, he constantly preached a message of military preparedness to his contemporaries…acts that made him a laughing stock…the Nazis only wanted peace and he was a militant nut. Once the realities set in with Hitler’s invasion of several European neighbors, Britons turned to Churchill for their salvation, and he proved himself up to the task.

What an amazing amount of History Sir Winston and Queen Elizabeth have been a part of!