Tuesday 8 September 2015

Record of the Week: Reign of Queen Elizabeth II

Tomorrow, Queen Elizabeth II will become the longest serving monarch in British history, supplanting her great-great grandmother, Queen Victoria, who reigned for 63 years 216 days.

After her uncle King Edward VIII abdicated, Elizabeth unexpectedly became second-in-line to the throne. The queen's reign began on February 6, 1952 when her father, King George VI, died. Elizabeth II's coronation took place on June 2, 1953 and was the first to be aired on television.

At the time of Her Majesty's accession, James Cardinal McGuigan was the Archbishop of Toronto. As the senior cardinal and ranking prelate of the Roman Catholic Church in Canada, His Eminence sent words of sympathy and acknowledgement to the new Queen of Canada. In the archives, we have the monarch's brief response, sent via telegraph:

Cardinal McGuigan finds, MGPO06.99

Telegram, 10 February 1952

"Buckingham Palace London
LTF Cardinal McGuigan Toronto
I am sincerels (sic) grateful for your kind message please assure all those for whom you speak that I deeply value their kindness and sympathy
Elizabeth R"

The queen signs official documents "Elizabeth R". The "R'' stands for regina, which is Latin for queen.

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