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Kenya lodge where Queen Elizabeth holidayed shuts down

A wooden board shows the name of Treetops Lodge where Britain's Queen Elizabeth II of England stayed the night her father, the King, died and became Queen in 1952   -  
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As the United Kingdom prepares to mark 70 years since Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne, the hotel where she spent her last night as a princess in Kenya has shut down.

The Treetop Hotel is located in Nyeri, Kenya, deep inside Aberdare National Park.

It was in the hours following her stay in February 1952 that the then princess received the news of the death of her father, King George VI, and began her reign.

She was formally crowned on June 2, 1953.

The original hotel was reportedly burnt down by the Mau Mau, Kenyan freedom fighters who were protesting colonial rule in Kenya. A new hotel was built on the same site a few years later.

It took another decade before Kenya gained independence from British colonial rule after an emergency period that was marked by killings, torture and ill-treatment.

Seven decades after the start of the Queen's reign, the historic hotel had to be closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Amos Ndegwa, a tour guide at the hotel and a naturalist, said the pandemic meant that keeping the hotel running had no longer been sustainable, with many people losing their jobs as a result.

Some Kenyans have expressed condemnation of the closure of the hotel, saying the government should have intervened to ensure that the hotel remains open as a national heritage site.

Nairobi resident John Kamata said many tourists would have wanted to visit the place where Britain's longest-reigning monarch spent her last night as a princess.

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