"I well remember the Queen's accession – and by that I do mean "accession", rather than her coronation, which followed over a year later, on June 2nd 1953. The day King George VI died, 5th February 1952, I was due to travel up to London to dine in the Middle Temple Hall. I travelled up on the morning and heard on the way the news of the King's death. I went to Buckingham Palace and saw the simple notice of the King's death posted up on the railings of the Palace. The Queen of course was not there: she was on holiday with Prince Philip in Kenya when her father died and had to return hastily to this country. So there was only a small group of people gathered outside Buckingham Palace that morning.
That evening, before we dined, grace was said. It had already been re-written and so for the first time I heard the prayer that God might save the Queen. The Inns of Court were thus among the first bodies in the country to declare their loyalty to the new Queen. The rest of the country followed with enthusiasm. At midday on the following Saturday morning I stood hemmed in in a huge crowd at Carfax, the central crossroads of Oxford, when to loud cheering, Her Majesty's succession was proclaimed. We had great hopes of Her Majesty's reign: those hopes have not been disappointed. "
JOHN M. COLLINS
Barrister - Called 1956