Queen Elizabeth is marking the 56th anniversary of her accession to the throne privately at her country home today (06.02.08).

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The 81-year-old monarch will spend the day at her royal Norfolk estate, Sandringham, where her father King George VI died peacefully in his sleep in the early morning of February 6, 1952.

Princess Elizabeth was on holiday in Kenya with her husband Prince Philip when her father passed away after losing his battle with lung cancer. The 25-year-old princess heard of her accession to the throne while staying at Nyeri’s Sagana Hunting Lodge, in the foothills of Mount Kenya.

As is tradition, the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery will fire a 41-gun salute in Hyde Park to mark the queen’s accession today. A 62-gun salute will also be carried out at the Tower of London by the Honourable Artillery Company.

The queen will return to Buckingham Palace today, after being in residence at Sandringham since before Christmas.