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The royal couple decided to steal a night out of their official duties and stay in a one-of-a-kind tree-topped lodge in the midst of the dense forest of Aberdare.
The King of Britain and his father died during the night they spent in the hotel on top of that tree, and Elizabeth became Queen.
Above the tree, naturalist and hunter Jim Corbett accompanied the royal couple. She wrote in the visitors’ book, “For the first time in the history of the world, a young girl climbed a tree as a princess, which, as she says, was her most exciting experience, but the next day she came down from the tree as a queen.”
In fact, it was reported to him by the Duke of Edinburgh after he had descended from the lodge built on Elizabeth’s tree. But the same story remained and that hotel became famous locally as a hotel where a princess became queen.
It was built in 1932 on a large fig tree as a resting place for wealthy tourists. It was probably the only one of its kind in the world. A private place built between tree branches in the dense forests of Africa, from where people of big families could see the wild animals coming down to drink water while being safe.
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Elizabeth and Philip wrote on a piece of paper with their own hands what they saw there, which has been framed in this lodge to this day. It also has his signature on it.
It is written, – Large herd of elephants—there must have been about 40.
On the night of 5/6 February 1952, he writes, unicorns appeared throughout the night and in the morning saw the fight of two bulls.
The royal couple asked one of their assistants to write a letter thanking the hotel owner. In it, he described it as “a wonderful experience of watching wild animals play in the lap of nature” and said that the day and night here “be filled with interest.”
This letter, written on 8 February 1952, is also pasted on the wall of this hotel. It reads, – I am sure it was one of the best experiences of the life of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.
After two years of this historic journey, this lodge built on this tree was burnt. Rumors arose that it was burnt down by anti-colonial Maui-Maui rebels.
After this, a place for drinking water for that animal and on the other side of the original lodge a new and bigger hotel was built on 11 wooden poles which still stand today.
It is one of the world’s famous treetop hotels after the royal couple’s visit. Wealthy guests can stay here in the Princess Elizabeth Suite and view photographs taken by hunters from the 1960s that are plated in ivory.
Elizabeth and Philip came back here in 1983. It was a more formal visit than a safari. He saw how much the treetop had changed in the 31 year gap between the two visits. But today this treetop hotel is closed due to coronavirus.
Two years after the coronavirus, on February 6, when Elizabeth is about to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of 70 years in office, this treetop hotel, a symbol of the bygone days, will remain closed.