See What Triggered A Powerful Queen Mother Of England To Visit Southern Rhodesia, Now Zimbabwe

See What Triggered A Powerful Queen Mother Of England To Visit Southern Rhodesia, Now Zimbabwe

This would not be the first or the last royal visit to ever be recorded in the history of Zimbabwe, but for some reason, this royal visit happens to be extremely important, and of course, we have lots of royalty around the whole world, ranging from Queen Elizabeth down to the local chiefs we have in our various villages, so which royalty graced Southern Rhodesia, which is now Zimbabwe, let us have a look at the reason.

The Royal Visit

The royal visit to Rhodesia dates as far back as June 30th, 1953. It was gathered that on this day, in the comfort of a Comet jet airplane from the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) fleet, the Royal Party set out from London on a tour to Southern Rhodesia.

The opening of the Rhodes Centenary Exhibition in Bulawayo, as well as the unveiling of the Footbridge Memorial, were the reasons for this royal visit. Even though the visit was initially planned for Princess Elizabeth, due to King George VI’ s death in February 1952, it was rescheduled to include the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret.

The Arrival Of The Royalties

At just about noon on the 1st of July, the Comet of Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret landed at the newly established Salisbury Airport, and there the Governor of Southern Rhodesia, Sir John Kennedy, was waiting for them, and he greeted the Royal Party on their arrival.

As the tour began, history has it that the Royal Party were transported in three air- conditioned coaches that were well equipped and furnished and had previously served on the 1947 Royal trip to South Africa.

The coaches were known to have had comfortable beds, a dining coach, and a lounge part, as well as a bathroom with English bath crystals and soap tablets, and a kitchen stocked with English delights. The Rhodesians sure knew how to entertain a guest.

After being transported in the coaches, the Royal Party landed in Bulawayo on July 3rd, where they were greeted by Mayor Colonel C. M. Newman. Upon their arrival, the Queen Mother inspected a Guard of Honor comprised of members of the Southern Rhodesian Territorial Forces’ various regiments.

After that, the Royal Party was taken about 11 miles through the city to the Government House. The Queen Mother and Princess Margaret drove to the Queen’ s Ground in the afternoon, when the Queen Mother launched the Rhodes Centenary Exhibition by pressing a button to unlock the Queen’ s Ground gates. The Queen Mother and Princess Margaret were afterwards both given diamond and aluminum brooches in the shape of a flame lily.

The brooches were believed to be exact duplicates of those presented to the Queen on her 21st birthday by Southern Rhodesian schoolchildren. Colonel Sir Ellis Robins, Chairman of the Exhibition Board, presented the awards.

The Second Tour

The Royal Party took a second tour of the exhibition on July 4th. The Royal Party paid a visit to each of the 18 country pavilions. They were showered with gifts at each pavilion.

Bulawayo inhabitants were invited to a mayoral garden party, which took place in Bulawayo (Central) Park. The Queen Mother met the widows of Rhodesian pioneers while she was in the country. A total of 10, 000 individuals attended the event.

The Royal Party was welcomed by the Bishop of Matabeleland and the Archdeacon, the Venerable E Addington Hunt, at a divine ceremony at St John’ s Church. Following the service, the native people were taken to Barham Green Village, a newly created housing complex for them.

The Halle Orchestra performed an orchestral concert in the 3, 000- seater Royal Theatre in the exhibition grounds in the evening, conducted by Sir John Barbirolli. The Rhodes Centenary Exhibition required the construction of the Royal Theatre. The 5th of July was supposed to be a day of rest.

A significant number of Rhodesians, however, believed that the Royal Tour would be incomplete without a visit to Rhodes’ cemetery atop Malindidzimu Hill in the Matobo Hills. A Centenary Service was held at the location. When the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret took their seats next to Rhodes’ grave, the 5, 000 pilgrims clapped their hands.

The Royal Party then paid a visit to Queen Mary’ s House and St. Gabriel’ s Home. The Royal Party then traveled to Luveve African Village for the next stage of their journey. The Queen Mother was greeted in Luveve by a brass band and singing and ululating African women, some of whom had traveled all the way from the Belgian Congo.

On July 6th, 1953, the tour to Bulawayo came to a close with a pageant in Exhibition Park. The Royal Party boarded the Royal Train in the evening and traveled to Gwelo, Que Que, Salisbury, Great Zimbabwe, and Fort Victoria in Rhodesia.

Thanks for reading.

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