by Malcolm Baird
THE sad event of 8 September 2022 has set me thinking back to the Queen’s Accession on 6 February 1952.
At this time I was a 17 year old pupil at Fettes College in Edinburgh, keenly studying chemistry and physics while trying to avoid serious injury on the rugby field.
Classes were interrupted by an urgent message from the Headmaster summoning the school to a parade in front of the main building. As we assembled, the whisper went round that King George VI was dead. This came as a shock, because the press and the radio had declared that the King’s health was stable after his lung operation a few months earlier.
Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh had flown out on an African tour, from which they had to return hurriedly upon hearing the news of the King’s death. At the Fettes parade, the Headmaster formally broke the news and called for a minute of silence.