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Next morning, followed at a discreet distance by her husband Philip, the Queen walked along the garden path linking Clarence House with St. James's Palace, to receive the homage of her Privy Council and sign the oath of accession. An hour later, in a blaze of medieval pomp, her accession was formally proclaimed. Crowds of thousands jammed Pall Mall, St. James's Street, Friary Road and The Mall. Four state trumpeters, resplendent in gold-laced tabards, stepped out on a balcony of St. James's Palace, followed by sergeants-at-arms bearing maces. In the courtyard below stood guardsmen holding rifles and bandsmen with drums muffled in black. As the trumpeters blurted a brassy fanfare, Britain's Garter Principal King of Arms Sir George Bellew flanked by the Earl Marshal, two more Kings of Arms, six Heralds and three heraldic Pursuivants, all dressed like himself in tabards and cockaded hats and bearing staffs of gold, silver and ebony stepped forward and raised a huge parchment.
"Whereas," he cried, "it hath pleased Almighty God to call to His Mercy our late sovereign lord, King George VI, of blessed and glorious memory, by whose decease the Crown is solely and rightfully come to the high and mighty Princess, Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, we therefore Lords Spiritual and Temporal of this realm . . . do now hereby with one voice and consent of tongue and heart publish and proclaim the high and mighty Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary is now . . . become Queen Elizabeth II, by the Grace of God, Queen of this realm and all her other realms and territories, head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, to whom her lieges do acknowledge all faith and constant obedience with hearty and humble affection; beseeching God by Whom kings and queens do reign to bless the royal Princess Elizabeth II with long and happy years to reign over us. God Save the Queen."*
At the last words, the half-staffed flags of London climbed upward once again to fly at full-staff for six hours, in honor of the new Queen. The sun itself, as though a providential stage manager had planned it, chose that moment to break through the dismal overcast. As the heraldic procession moved on, in gilded coaches, to proclaim the great tidings at other key points in the city, Londoners felt a warmth in their hearts like the sudden sunlight. The dead King was not forgotten, but today they had a new Queen.