Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is celebrating her Diamond Jubilee this year. She became New Zealand’s Queen and Head of State on 6 February 1952, upon the death of her father, King George VI.
New Zealand is a parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy within the Commonwealth, with The Queen as Sovereign, or Head of State. Her first visit as ’Queen of New Zealand’ was at the end of 1953 and she has been a regular visitor since, paying 10 visits in total. She has travelled extensively throughout the country and opened sessions of the New Zealand Parliament on several occasions.
In November 2011 the Governor-General of New Zealand, Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, released a new emblem to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. The emblem and its description can be seen on the Governor General’s website via the related links panel on this page.
In February 1952, the then Princess Elizabeth and Prince Phillip were staying in a remote part of Kenya, at the start of an official tour that was to include visits to other Commonwealth countries, including New Zealand. The King’s deteriorating health had forced him to abandon his proposed tour and Princess Elizabeth and Prince Phillip had taken his place. This tour had to be abandoned, and the royal couple returned to Britain. She was formally greeted as ‘The Queen’ by Prime Minister Winston Churchill and other officials at the airport. Her formal coronation as Queen Elizabeth II took place much later, in Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953.
A number of royal related items are on public display in Parliament’s Visitor Centre. These include a coronation tapestry and a throne chair used for State Openings. You can visit or take a tour of Parliament seven days a week (see the related links panel on this page for details).