TODAY and over the weekend Craven will join the rest of the country to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee - the 70th anniversary of her accession to the crown.

The coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II did not take place until the following year, 1953, but it was on February 6, 1952, that she ascended to the crown, following the death of her father, King George VI, who died 'peacefully in his sleep' aged just 56.

Under the headline ‘Craven mourns a beloved King’, the Craven Herald, two days after his death, on February 8, 1952 reported the death of a King and the proclamation of a new Queen.

“Britain, the Empire and the world received with a profound sense of shock and loss the sad news on Wednesday that His Majesty King George VI had died peacefully in his sleep in his 57th year and in the 16th year of his reign,” reported the Herald.

It had been less than a week since the King and other members of the Royal Family had seen the new Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh start off a tour to Australia from London Airport.

The Proclamation of the Accession of Queen Elizabeth II was signed at St James’ Palace by 150 members of the Privy Council on the same day of the King’s death, and the first public proclamation of the Queen’s Accession took place on Friday, February 8, 1952.

There was ‘profound grief in town and dale’ following the King’s death, reported the Herald.

“The sad news spread quickly throughout Skipton, Barnoldswick and other parts of Craven. Flags were flown at half-mast, curtains were drawn across many windows, and there were spontaneous and sincere expressions of grief.

Local Government bodies in the district lost no time in sending messages of sympathy to the Queen Mother and her family.”

On the day of his death, cinemas and other ‘places of entertainment’ were closed. Special services of remembrance were held in churches across Craven on the Sunday after the King’s death.

“News of the King’s passing, which came as a shock to young, middle-aged and old, made a profound impact on the whole of Craven. In many of the schools, the children were called together in the assembly hall, the head teacher solemnly announced the sad tidings, and prayers were offered for the Queen Mother and the Royal Family in their grief.”

The Herald reported the remarks of a milk woman in Skipton were typical of the feelings of people in Craven.

She told a reporter: “He was a good man and we shall all miss him. Being Queen is a great responsibility for a young girl to have to bear and she deserves all our sympathy and love. One thing is for certain, her mother will be a great help.”

King George visited Craven on three occasions - two as the King and one as the Duke of York. On August 20, 1922, he went to Bolton Abbey. The then Duke of York had a day’s shooting on the Duke of Devonshire’s moors and took the opportunity to look around the Priory Church.

A year after his coronation, King George and his Queen stayed several hours in the royal train at Bolton Abbey on May 17, 1938 on the occasion of their visit to Colne, Nelson, and Burnley.

The King’s last visit to Craven was carried out in great secrecy when in wartime, March, 1942, he visited the Royal Ordnance Factory at Steeton. He was accompanied by the Queen and they travelled by train from London. They had a resting period at a siding at Bolton Abbey and spent about an hour at the Steeton factory.

The chairman of Skipton Urban Council’s message to the Queen Mother read: “The council and the inhabitants of Skipton are distressed by the untimely death of their sovereign, King George, and on their behalf I desire to express heartfelt sympathy in your irreparable loss.”

Two minutes silence was observed before the sitting of Skipton Magistrates Court. The chairman of the bench alluded to the grievous loss sustained by the death of the King. “There is not the slightest doubt that this tragedy came upon us with extreme suddenness and we can only hope that strength will be given to the Royal Family to help them bear up in this great hour of trouble.”

In a leader, the Craven Herald described how the King had been head of a family which had ‘provided a model of domestic happiness to the world’ and had ‘conveyed the ideals of the British way of life to the nations’.

“We all admired the vigour with which he took up his crown and equipped himself for real kingship”

The leader continued that 1952 was likely to be in ‘many ways a vital one in the history of the nation’.

“We believe the future will rest in good hands, even though they are so much younger and yet so little experienced. Craven assures the new Queen of its abiding loyalty.”