As Queen Elizabeth II becomes the first British monarch to reign for 70 years the story of how she became queen has started to make rounds. Queen Elizabeth II, then Princess Elizabeth, was on a trip to Kenya with her now deceased husband Prince Phillip in 1952.
Both of them replaced King George VI, who due to his lung cancer could not participate in the tour of the Commonwealth that year. The king died on February 6, 1952 at the royal Sandringham residence in Norfolk. News reached his daughter on the next day where she was with her husband at the famed Treetops hotel in Kenya - perched atop a game-watching lodge deep in the forests of Aberdares. She woke up that day and clicked pictures of the wildlife along with Prince Phillip which is when she came to know of her father’s demise. The Treetops Hotel in Kenya became the fabled locale where a princess became a queen.
Jim Corbett, the famed hunter, conservationist and author, who was a household for children in India up until the mid-90s was among those who accompanied the royal couple. “For the first time in the history of the world, a young girl climbed into a tree one day a Princess and, after having what she described as her most thrilling experience, she climbed down from the tree next day a queen,” Jim Corbett wrote that day in the visitor’s book of the Treetops hotel, according to a report by AFP. Corbett was called to join the royal couple due to his fame which he earned by killing maneater big cats in several parts of northern India.
The royal couple did return to the Treetops in 1983 but it had changed from what is was earlier as the original hotel was burned down by Mau Mau rebels during an uprising. Guests can stay in the Princess Elizabeth Suite of the revamped hotel and check out the royal memorabilia. However, the Treetops hotel remains closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Once opened tourists can find the plaque which marks the spot where the longest-serving monarch was when she became a queen from a princess.
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