Middy reports on death of the King

JPMT. 1952 copy pix from the Middy.
JPMT. 1952 copy pix from the Middy.

On Wednesday, February 13, 1952 the Mid Sussex Times front page read - ‘Mid-Sussex mourns death of the King’.

The paper reported on the death of King George VI, the current Queen’s father, it said: “Shortly after 11am last Wednesday the staggering blow fell upon Mid Sussex ‘The King is Dead!’ People look aghast - ‘It can’t be true’ The telephone was quickly at work, from Haywards Heath to high places, from Burgess Hill to Haywards Heath and from the surrounding villages, only to meet with official confirmation of the sad news. ‘Yes the King is dead!’ The BBC proclaimed.”

JPMT. 1952 copy pix from the Middy. The Balcombe Royal Wedding

JPMT. 1952 copy pix from the Middy. The Balcombe Royal Wedding

The King died at 10.45am on February 6, 1952.

It went on to say that when the news of His Majesty’s death appeared in the windows of the Mid Sussex Times offices it caused a ‘great sensation’.

“Little groups of people passed it from mouth to mouth; faces turned pale and fixed; and some of the women were moved to tears.”

In Sussex flags were flown at half mast, entertainment and other events were cancelled, church bells rang muffled and special prayers were offered to the Royal Family. The BBC even closed down for the rest of the day after giving the news, expect for news bulletins, summaries, shipping forecasts and gale warnings.

Queen Elizabeth II immediately became Queen after the death of her father.

The paper said: “Like her late father, she has gained intense popularity, and she will have the utmost sympathy and support of her millions of loyal-hearted subjects in all her undertakings.”

At the time of his death Princess Elizabeth was in Kenya with the Duke of Edinburgh.

The funeral of the King was held in St George’s chapel, Windsor. Prior to which he was lying in state in Westminister Hall.

The cause of his death was coronary thrombosis.

The front page also featured a photo of a Royal Wedding in Balcombe featuring Queen Elizabeth II. Taken in 1931 the Queen, then aged five is the bridesmaid on the right in the front of the photo.

The Queen was a bridesmaid at the wedding of Lady May Cambridge to Captain Henry Abel Smith.

It said: “On that occasion the little Princess got a big cheer all to herself as her father, then the Duke of York, lifted her out of the car.

“She looked just like a Princess who had stepped out of a fairy story.”