13 April 2014

Flashback: Parliament Opening, Wellington, New Zealand, 1954

The Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, opened Parliament in Wellington, New Zealand, in January 1954.
The Queen became the first reigning monarch ever to visit New Zealand when she arrived in December 1953. The New Zealand leg of the post-Coronation tour was more than a month long, beginning just before Christmas and ending at the end of January 1954.

To open a special session of Parliament, the Queen wore her glittering Coronation gown with a jewel combination that would also be seen opening Parliament in Australia: Queen Alexandra's Kokoshnik Tiara, the Coronation Necklace and Earrings, and a diamond watch, plus the Riband (secured with one of Queen Victoria's Bow Brooches), Star, and Lesser George of the Order of the Garter. Though she did not wear the New Zealand Fern Brooch she was given at Christmas for this event, her Coronation gown came complete with its own fern embroidery (seen above, top right).

This was the first of ten visits to New Zealand for the Queen. For a sense of how successful the tour was, have a look at the video below:

Video: The Royal Tour of New Zealand, 1953-54

Photos: NZ Parliament/Royal Collection/Archives NZ