The Queen will mark the 61st anniversary of her accession to the throne privately at Sandringham on Wednesday. She became monarch on the death of her father King George VI. He died on February 6 1952 at the royal estate in Norfolk after suffering from lung cancer.
The Queen was thousands of miles away at the time in Kenya, watching big game in the Treetops Hotel with the Duke of Edinburgh, unaware of the momentous duty that had fallen upon her shoulders. Philip broke the sad news to his wife and the royal couple returned to Britain.
Most years the Queen does not attend public engagements on the day of her accession and on Wednesday she will reflect on the anniversary of her father's death in private.
This year will see the monarch mark the 60th anniversary of her coronation which was held on June 2, 1953.
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The Queen joined Women's Institute members in Sandringham for tea, cakes and a rousing rendition of Jerusalem on her annual visit to her local WI. The Queen is the honorary president of the organisation.
The WI in Sandringham is expecting to welcome its most famous member today.
Every January the Norfolk branch of the Women's Institute invites its president, Her Majesty The Queen. She is due to attend a special branch meeting later this afternoon.
The Queen missed a Sunday church service today at her Sandringham estate in Norfolk after suffering from a cold, Buckingham Palace said.
While at Sandringham she usually visits St Mary Magdalene Church every Sunday, but today dozens of well wishers who turned up to see the monarch were disappointed when she did not attend.
A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said: "The Queen was getting over the tail end of a cold. We are expecting business as usual next week."
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Sandringham in Norfolk has been the private home of four generations of British monarchs since 1862.Read the full story ›