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Staff leave flowers for the queen in closed Kenyan safari lodge

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Staff leave flowers for Her Majesty at the closed Kenyan safari lodge where she ‘went up the tree like princess and came down like queen’ after the death of her father King George VI in 1952

  • Treetops Hotel was an elaborate tree house on the edge of a watering hole in Kenya
  • Elizabeth, then a princess of 25, was touring the Commonwealth in 1952
  • She stayed overnight at Treetops with her new husband, the Duke of Edinburgh
  • The next morning she was told that her father had died and that she was queen
  • Now, after Queen Elizabeth II’s death 70 years later, former associates have returned to light candles, place white roses and prepare a register of condolence
  • Full coverage: Click here to see all our coverage of the Queen’s death

The Kenyan safari lodge where Princess Elizabeth became Queen has paid tribute to the late monarch after her death.

The Treetops Hotel – an elaborate tree house on the edge of a watering hole in Aberdare National Park – was where Elizabeth, aged 25, famously ‘went up the tree like a princess and came down like a queen.’

She had toured the Commonwealth in February 1952, staying overnight in the Treetops – a three-bedroom cabin built in an old fig tree – with her new husband, the Duke of Edinburgh.

The next morning, she was informed that her father, King George VI, had died overnight, making her the new monarch.

Now, after Queen Elizabeth II’s death 70 years later, the former staff have returned to light candles, place white roses and prepare a register of condolence.

‘Thank you ma’am, rest in peace’ reads the only mention so far, allegedly from a British army captain nearby, The Telegraph reports.

A memorial to the Queen as seen at Treetops Hotel on September 10, 2022

Pictured: Benefactors lay flowers at Treetops Hotel on September 10, 2022 in Nyeri, Kenya

Pictured: Benefactors lay flowers at Treetops Hotel on September 10, 2022 in Nyeri, Kenya

Princess Elizabeth with the Duke of Edinburgh in Treetops, Kenya, 1952

Princess Elizabeth with the Duke of Edinburgh in Treetops, Kenya, 1952

And Amos Ndegwa, a 68-year-old ex-forester whose grandfather helped build the hotel, said the Queen had been “like a mother” to him, adding: “All the jobs I’ve had were because of her coming to Treetops.’

During the princess’s visit, British colonial authorities had put down the Mau Mau Rebellion and it was feared that young Elizabeth could be a target.

Big game hunter and naturalist Jim Corbett joined the couple on their journey and had spent part of the night outside the lodge with a shotgun in search of leopards.

Claire Foy (pictured) portrays Princess Elizabeth at Treetops in Kenya in series 1 of The Crown

Claire Foy (pictured) portrays Princess Elizabeth at Treetops in Kenya in series 1 of The Crown

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh visit the Treetops Hotel on November 13, 1983 in Nairobi, Kenya

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh visit the Treetops Hotel on November 13, 1983 in Nairobi, Kenya

When the Queen and Prince Philip stayed, their accommodation was a comfortable three-bedroom cabin, with a small servant's quarters, built into the upper branches of a gigantic fig tree.

When the Queen and Prince Philip stayed, their accommodation was a comfortable three-bedroom cabin, with a small servant’s quarters, built into the upper branches of a gigantic fig tree.

Princess Anne, guarded by senior hunter Colonel Eric Hayes-Newington, walks through the bush to the Treetops Hotel in Kenya.  It was a sentimental journey for the princess in February 1952

Princess Anne, guarded by senior hunter Colonel Eric Hayes-Newington, walks through the bush to the Treetops Hotel in Kenya. It was a sentimental journey for the princess in February 1952

He later wrote in the visitor’s book, “A young girl climbed a tree like a princess one day…she climbed out of the tree the next day like a queen.”

The original treehouse was burned to the ground in 1954 by Mau Mau rebels, leaving only a metal plaque.

The plaque reads: ‘In this Mgumu tree Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh spent the night of 5 February 1952.

“While here Princess Elizabeth succeeded the throne through the death of her father, King George VI.”

Years later, a hotel was built on the other side of the nearby well. The Queen visited in 1982.

But it has remained closed since the pandemic, leaving former staff unemployed.

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