February 15, 1952 – BBC/NBC Radio – Coverage of the Funeral for King George VI – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
February 15, 1952 – a somber day in England and for the world in general. The state funeral of George VI, King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland took place on 15 February 1952. George VI died in the early morning of 6 February at Sandringham House in Norfolk. A period of national mourning commenced and his daughter, Elizabeth II was proclaimed the new monarch by the Accession Council. George VI’s coffin lay in St Mary Magdalene Church, Sandringham until 11 February when it was carried, in procession, to the nearby Wolferton railway station. The coffin was carried by train to London King’s Cross railway station where another formal procession carried it to Westminster Hall where the king lay in state for three days. Some 304,000 people passed through Westminster Hall with queues up to 4 miles (6.4 km) forming.
George VI’s funeral was held on 15 February and began with another formal procession to Paddington Station, the coffin being carried on a gun carriage hauled by Royal Navy seamen, as is traditional at the funerals of British sovereigns. The procession was accompanied by Elizabeth II, George VI’s wife Queen Elizabeth, Princess Margaret and four royal dukes. Numerous foreign monarchs and other representatives also attended. On arrival at Paddington the coffin was loaded onto a train for the journey to Windsor. Another procession carried the coffin through the town to St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle where a service was held and the king interred in the royal vault.
The procession was the first of a British monarch to be broadcast on television and may have led to the start of a mass purchase of television sets. The king’s body was relocated to the newly built King George VI Memorial Chapel at St George’s in 1969 and was joined there by the body of Queen Elizabeth and the ashes of Princess Margaret in 2002.
Here is combined coverage of the funeral broadcast by the BBC World Service and NBC Radio on February 15, 1952. (Note: There a two minute silence about an hour in. So, no it’s not the player, your computer or me. It’s history.
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