Young Elizabeth on one of her first visits to the city

The young Princess Elizabeth on the steps of the Guildhall, Portsmouth, in May 1937
The young Princess Elizabeth on the steps of the Guildhall, Portsmouth, in May 1937
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Looking anxiously at the size of the city’s mace, an 11-year-old Princess Elizabeth is captured on one of her first official visits to Portsmouth.

It was May 19, 1937, and her father, George VI, had been crowned the week before.

The young girl would still have been coming to terms with the fact that one day she would inherit the throne from her father. A year earlier her uncle, Edward VIII, had abdicated, having chosen an American divorcee over the monarchy. Overnight she became next in line.

The King is seen here listening to a speech of welcome by the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Frederick Spickernell, on the Guildhall steps. The young princess’s hat partially obscures her mother, Queen Elizabeth.

The royal party was visiting the city before embarking aboard the Royal Yacht Victoria and Albert to review the fleets at Spithead to mark the coronation.

After her coronation 60 years ago, the Queen has made numerous visits to Portsmouth as the home of the Royal Navy, and countless others to towns and cities in Hampshire and West Sussex.