As a very proud sergeant-major said on Tuesday night following the end of the Sovereign’s Parade: “It is not often you get to celebrate a longest-serving monarch!”
The boys and girls of the King’s Lynn Army Cadet Force (ACF) were on parade to pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II on the eve of her being on the throne for 63 years, seven months and two days and thereby surpassing Queen Victoria’s reign,
Although she was in Kenya when it began, its roots were firmly in West Norfolk as it was there her father, George VI died in February 1952, making the 25-year-old princess monarch.
Borough mayor Colin Manning, who attended the Sovereign Parade at the ACF in Loke Road on Tuesday, paid warm tribute to Her Majesty and said what strong connections she has with West Norfolk through her home at Sandringham.
He said: “When I came up here I just realised all the connections and affiliations she has to West Norfolk and the respect people have for her.
“Over the years she has been a constant in our lives after taking the throne at a very young age ... it is a huge job and a huge responsibility and she has done it without any form of scandal or disgrace, absolutely living a fantastic life when you are in the public eye so much.”
Sgt Maj Wayne Marks, of the CNE (Cadet Norfolk Engineers) ACF, said: “It is a very, very special night, one to celebrate the Queen, bring the parents down and mark the occasion.”
To add to the occasion on Tuesday, on a night of low cloud, after the drill an RAF Tornado jet flew over the parade ground as if in a fly-past.
The Queen has asked for minimal public fuss to mark the occasion. She spent the day in Scotland, where she opened a new rail line in the Borders. Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge were reported to be away from Anmer Hall with Her Majesty at Balmoral.
In the edition of Tuesday, February 12, 1952 the Lynn News & Advertiser announced the Queen’s accession with the headline, “Lynn Proclaims Queen Elizabeth”.
It went on to say: “‘Long Live The Queen’ came the cry and King’s Lynn in common with every other English community proclaimed Elizabeth II Queen of England.
“The ceremony took place on Friday, the day of the Queen’s return from abroad. Many hundreds of people gathered before the chequered facade of the Town Hall for the ceremony.
“They stood bare headed while the Mayor, Cmdr F Basil Humphrey in robes and full insignia read the full proclamation: ‘When it hath pleased Almighty God to call to his Mercy our last Sovereign Lord King George the Sixth of blessed memory by whose decease the Crown is solely and rightfully come to the high and mighty Princess Elizabeth Alexandra.”