The death of King George VI
The stress of the war had taken its toll on King Georges health, made worse by his heavy smoking, and subsequent development of lung cancer among other ailments, including arteriosclerosis and Buerger's disease. A planned tour of Australia and New Zealand was postponed after George suffered an arterial blockage in his right leg, which threatened the loss of the leg and was treated with a right lumbar sympathectomy in March 1949. His elder daughter and heir presumptive, Elizabeth, took on more royal duties as her father's health deteriorated. The delayed tour was re-organised, with Princess Elizabeth and her husband, Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, taking the place of the King and Queen.
George was well enough to open the Festival of Britain in May 1951, but on 4 June it was announced that he would need immediate and complete rest for the next four weeks. On 23 September 1951, he underwent a surgical operation where his entire left lung was removed after a malignant tumour was found. In October 1951, Elizabeth and Philip went on a month-long tour of Canada; the trip had been delayed for a week due to George's illness. At the State Opening of Parliament in November, the Lord Chancellor, Lord Simonds, read the King's speech from the throne. The King's Christmas broadcast of 1951 was recorded in sections, and then edited together.
On 31 January 1952, despite advice from those close to him, George went to London Airport to see Elizabeth and Philip off on their tour to Australia via Kenya. It was his last public appearance. Six days later, at 07:30 GMT on the morning of 6 February, he was found dead in bed at Sandringham House in Norfolk. He had died in the night from a coronary thrombosis at the age of 56. From 9th of February George's coffin rested in St Mary Magdalene Church, Sandringham, before lying in state at Westminster Hall from 11 February. His funeral took place at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, on the 15th. He was interred initially in the Royal Vault until he was transferred to the King George VI Memorial Chapel inside St George's on 26 March 1969. In 2002, fifty years after his death, the remains of his widow, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, and the ashes of his younger daughter, Princess Margaret, who both died that year, were interred in the chapel alongside him. In 2022, the remains of Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, were also interred in the chapel.