Queen’s friend witnessed moment she went from Princess to sovereign on Commonwealth trip

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Lady Pamela Hicks is a first cousin of the Duke of Edinburgh and close friend of the Queen. As a former lady-in-waiting, she has witnessed many seminal moments in the life of the British monarch. In the ITV documentary ‘My Years With The Queen’, due to be broadcast on April 1 at 9pm, Lady Hicks recounts the dramatic moment her Majesty’s life was transformed forever.

The Queen had agreed to go on a Commonwealth tour in place of her ill father King George VI in 1952.

After a full day of official events in Kenya, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh spent an evening relaxing at the Treetops hotel, the oldest safari lodge in the country.

To access their sleeping quarters, the royal couple had to scale a ladder.

During the night, King George VI passed away, meaning his eldest daughter would become the next monarch of the realm.

Lady Hicks wrote in her diary: “She climbed up that ladder as a Princess and then, in the morning, she came down the ladder as Queen.”

The painful news was broken to the Queen by Prince Philip as they took a walk by a trout stream in the morning.

Observing the episode, Lady Hicks described the reaction of her close friend to the devastating news.

She recalled: “You could see the moment she’s been told, the body language.

“She stopped walking and slumped a bit.

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“And one thought, how awful for her.”

The Queen will celebrate her 95th birthday on April 21.

In honour of the occasion, ITV will be showing a number of programmes about the British monarch.

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