Lady Pamela Hicks has described how the Duke of Edinburgh covered his face with a newspaper and remarked “this will be such a shock” after learning his wife had become Queen.Lady Pamela, the Duke’s cousin and a former lady-in-waiting to the Queen, said the young Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip were “the last people in the world to hear” that George VI had died.Speaking to her daughter on The India Hicks Podcast, the 90-year-old told how she was with the princess, staying in the tiny, remote Treetops guest house in Kenya in 1952, accessible via a ladder, when she became Queen.”She goes up as a princess. The king dies that night. She comes down the ladder as a Queen,” she said.Secret ciphers were sent by the British Embassy to the governor, announcing the King’s death, but the coded messages could not be read as the key to the code was elsewhere.”We were the last people in the world to hear,” she added. “Philip just takes the newspaper and covers his face with it, hides behind it and says ‘This will be such a shock’,” Lady Pamela said.She said the duke convinced his wife to go for a walk in the garden, where he told her of her father’s death and that she was now Queen when they were alone.Lady Pamela added: “As she comes into the room. I think ‘Oh, poor girl, her father’s died’. So I go over to her, give her a hug and think ‘Oh my god, it’s the Queen’ so I go into a deep curtsy.”And she says ‘I’m so sorry. It means we’ve all got to go back’ … She was only thinking of all of us.” The Queen’s private secretary, Martin Charteris, was in the nearby town, having a drink in a restaurant, when a writer approached him and remarked on the news.Returning to the Sagana Lodge residence where the royals were based, he told the duke’s equerry, Mike Parker, who took unusual steps to prevent the new Queen finding out via the radio. Elizabeth flies home as QueenCredit:AFP Lady Pamela revealed that the Queen’s mourning dress had to be hurried on to the plane when the royal party arrived back in London. Lady Pamela said: “Prince Philip is sitting, reading a newspaper, while the princess is in another part of room, at the desk, writing to her father.”Mike crawls in as he doesn’t want the princess to look up and see him so he’s crawling out of her sight line and gesturing to get hold of the radio…”He secretly turns it very, very low and hears all the stations (playing) the same dirge-like music, being very solemn … so it’s obviously true.”Shortly afterwards, he told the duke what has happened, getting him to listen to the radio. Lady Pamela HicksCredit:Jeff Gilbert The Queen with the Hicks family in 1962 “A black dress was quickly smuggled on board because we didn’t have a black dress. So she quickly has to change.”She praised Philip’s handling of the situation, and told how Prime Minister Winston Churchill prevented the duke, who as a foreign-born prince with no money did not have the support of the royal court, from taking on a variety of roles.”Philip was superb because it was much worse for him – end of his career – he would have been First Sea Lord,” she said.”He gives up his career. He’s always going to be walking three paces behind his wife, and the whole court and aristocracy are against him.”She added: “For months he has no job. The Queen thinks of several jobs for him but Churchill says no … Greek, not a well-born Scotsman.”Lady Pamela is the daughter of Philip’s uncle, Earl Mountbatten, who was murdered by the IRA in 1979.Sign up for our brilliant free newsletter, Your Royal Appointment, for exclusive insight from Camilla Tominey and Hannah Furness.