Elephants, and Baboons, and ... a Queen, Oh My!

Being crowned Queen of England may have been one of the most thrilling moments of Elizabeth II's life, but at the exact moment of her accession, she was unaware that her royal status had changed. She was, as TIME reported shortly after the event, in a Kenyan tree hut, experiencing another thrilling moment: watching a herd of elephants gather at a watering hole.

Although King George VI died in his sleep sometime during the night of Feb. 5, 1952, the remoteness of her tree house lodgings meant that Elizabeth didn't learn until relatively late the next day that she had become Queen of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan and what was then called Ceylon (today's Sri Lanka).

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