Queen Elizabeth started the decade with the birth of her daughter, Princess Anne, on 15 August, 1950.
As her father became increasingly ill with lung cancer, Elizabeth began to take on more of his public and ceremonial duties, inclding a tour of Canada and the United States in October 1951.
In February 1952 the Queen and Prince Philiip were staying at Treetops Hotel in Kenya. It was here that she heard the news that her father had died in the early hours of the morning on 6 February 1952. Elizabeth returned immediately to England and her accession was announced.
In 1952 she played a central role in two state occasions: the funeral of her father and, in the autumn, the State Opening of Parliament. There was a 16-month gap between her accession and her coronation, on 2 June 1953. The elaborate ceremony at Westminster Abbey and subsequent procession through the streets of London lasted six and a half hours. It drew huge crowds to the streets of London and millions more worldwide watched the ancient ritual on television and newsreels.
The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh embarked on the mammoth Coronation Tour within four months. It is said that, during the Tour, the Queen heard the National Anthem sung 508 times, listened to 276 speeches, delivered 102 speeches herself, was curtsied to 6,770 times and shook hands with 13,213 individuals.
As reigning monarch the Queen received state visits from a number of dignitaries and heads of state, starting with King Gustav VI Adolf of Sweden and Haile Selassie, Emmperor of Ethiopia.
While, for the time being Princess Anne was educated at home, the decision was made to send Prince Charles to Hill House Preparatory School in Knightsbridge, in 1956 and, a year later, he became a border at Cheam School in Hampshire.