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Kenya’s oldest safari lodge Treetops, where Princess Elizabeth became queen, has been forced to close

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Kenya’s oldest safari lodge Treetops, where Princess Elizabeth learned of her father’s death and became queen, has been forced to close due to the pandemic – after being remade for The Crown

  • Kenya’s oldest safari lodge Treetops forced to close after 90 years
  • Was where Princess Elizabeth became queen and talked about George VI .’s death
  • Become one of three historic hotels to close due to the pandemic










The Kenyan safari lodge, where Princess Elizabeth became queen, has been forced to close after welcoming royalty for nearly 90 years.

Kenya’s oldest safari lodge, Treetops – an elaborate tree house on the edge of a watering hole in Kenya’s Aberdare National Park – was where the monarch’went up the tree like a princess and came down like a queen.’

It was during a two-day safari on 6 February 1952 that Her Majesty, then 25 years old, succeeded George VI who had died in his sleep at Sandringham.

An aide noted that Prince Philip, who got the message, looked as if half the world had fallen on him. He delivered the news to the new queen while they were alone and hours later they were on their way home.

In series one of Netflix’s The Crown, the famous Treetops Hotel in Kenya was recreated in a game reserve near Cape Town.

During a nail-biting scene in episode two, Claire Foy, who played Queen Elizabeth, is nearly killed by attacking elephants, but a brave Prince Philip distracts one before chasing the enraged animal away.

The Kenyan safari lodge where Princess Elizabeth became queen has been forced to close after welcoming royalties for nearly 90 years. Pictured, with Prince Philip in February 1952

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

The Queen had been staying at Treetops 30 years earlier when she learned of her father’s death.

Elizabeth was not originally destined to become queen. However, she became heir presumptive after her father, King George VI, ascended to the throne following the abdication of his older brother, King Edward VIII.

Edward had relinquished the throne to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson, as marrying a woman divorced from her husband was deemed incompatible with his role as head of the Church of England.

During the afternoon before hearing the news of King George VI’s death, Princess Elizabeth spent the day with her camera photographing rhinoceroses and a waterbuck killing a rival from her elevated vantage point.

Wooden rubble shows remains of the original site of the former tree house where Britain's Queen Elizabeth II of England stayed the night her father, the king, died and became queen in 1952 at Treetops Lodge in Aberdare Narional Park in Nyeri, Kenya, on 10 April

Wooden rubble shows remains of the original site of the former tree house where Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II of England stayed the night her father, the king, died and became queen in 1952 at Treetops Lodge in Aberdare Narional Park in Nyeri, Kenya, on 10 April

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

Jim Corbett – her armed escort – later recalled that when she was invited over for tea, the princess had asked for the tea to be taken on the balcony and said, “I don’t want to miss a moment of this.”

In the Treetops Log, Corbett wrote, “For the first time in the history of the world, a young girl climbed the tree as a princess and down as a queen.”

After the royal visit to Treetops, the lodge quickly became the world’s most famous treehouse – and it wasn’t long before the couple returned in 1959 and 1983.

Treetops was also used by British colonial soldiers as a base for their snipers, but it was burned down in 1954 by Mau Mau guerrillas.

On the other side of the watering hole where it left off, a new Treetops then took shape, even allowing guests (provided an armed guide) to retrace Princess Elizabeth’s 1952 jungle walk.

However, it has since become one of three historic hotels in Kenya’s Nyeri province that have been forced to close due to the pandemic.

The Kenya Wildlife Service has reported that tourist revenues have fallen by more than 90 percent since the introduction of travel restrictions.

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