The bells tolled, the black-draped drums acknowledged and echoed the news. King George VI was dead, and a 25-year-old young woman ascended the throne of a realm that encompasses a quarter of the globe and a fourth of its inhabitants.

The news shocked, saddened, and in a strange fashion, inspired. A steadfast and modest King had died peacefully: this fact eased the sadness. The new Queen, young and popular, bore a proud name and the promise of a new era. In an age which prides itself on practicality, dismisses pomp as pretension, and regards royalty as an empty anachronism,...

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