Queen begins 70th year as Monarch from Covid isolation at Windsor Castle

The Queen has begun her 70th year on the throne. Credit: PA

The Queen embarks on her 70th year as Monarch on Saturday from her isolation at Windsor Castle.

She would normally be at Sandringham, where on February 6 every year, she marks Accession Day quietly, thinking about her beloved father who died on this day in 1952.

But this is no ordinary year, and the Queen was unable to spend the Christmas period at her Norfolk estate.

So she marks 69 years as Queen with the Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor, where they recently had the coronavirus vaccine.

Queen Elizabeth at her coronation. Credit: PA

Accession Day itself is never ‘celebrated’ as some might expect.

The practicalities of the system of hereditary monarchy means she only became Queen at the moment her father, King George VI gave his last breath.

He died in his sleep at Sandringham House and was pronounced dead when staff went to wake him in the morning.

King George had left Buckingham Palace for Norfolk on December 21, 1951, with his Queen consort and his youngest daughter Princess Margaret.

King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret leaving Buckingham Palace, London, to spend a family Christmas 1951 at Sandringham, Credit: PA

It would be his last Christmas.

He died, following a coronary thrombosis, but he’d been ill for some time, having had a lung removed just five months before.

In fact, the reason why Princess Elizabeth – as she was before February 6 – was out of the country in Kenya, was because she and Prince Philip had stepped in for the King who was too ill to do the royal tour himself.

And so, at Treetops Hotel in the Aberdares National Park, Prince Philip broke the news to his wife that her father had died and she was now Queen.

She returned to London Airport, now Heathrow, to take up her duties as Queen – the first of those duties would be approving the arrangements for her father’s funeral eight days later.

Whilst the Queen is now embarking on another year of her reign – the Platinum Jubilee will be celebrated in 2022 once the 70th year has been completed.

The government has already announced a double bank holiday on May 2 and 3 next year to make a four day weekend.

No other plans have yet been announced but Buckingham Palace has a team working on the celebration.

No British Monarch has ever celebrated a Platinum Jubilee before.

Queen Victoria clocked up 64 years before her death in 1901.

Today, the Queen carries on as usual, with the small coterie of staff which looks after her and Prince Philip on rotation – often called HMS Bubble.

She will reflect, as she does every year, on her father’s premature death and the duty, as Head of State, which came her way at such a young age.

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