In 1964, HRH Queen Elizabeth II made a Royal Visit to New Zealand, and included in her itinerary the charming town of Oamaru. As one of the most beautiful towns in New Zealand, as well as one of the best-preserved, the Royal Visit took place against a backdrop of buildings that were erected under the reign of her ancestor, Queen Victoria, whose memory is fondly cherished here. Many people in town today still remember that visit, and cherish memorabilia produced to commemorate the Queen’s time in the area. Visitors to the North Otago Museum will see photographs from the visit, during which it appears all Oamaru came out to catch a glimpse of their sovereign.
In 2014, fifty years after that landmark visit, the Queen’s grandson, HRH Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, will again visit New Zealand, together with his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, and their infant son, the third in line for the British throne, Prince George. Prince William himself also visited these islands as an infant, back in 1983, so this visit could offer a nice little symmetry.
It is not yet clear where in New Zealand the Royal Couple will plan to visit, but hopes are high that they will include Oamaru in their itinerary. After all, few other places in the country have a British flag flying over the centre of the town day-in and day-out. Certainly, they would receive a very warm welcome, and they would likely feel very much at home as they perambulate our streets, so reminiscent of an old English town that film crews are often to be seen in our streets, using our town as a backdrop for movies or advertisements meant to take place in Olde England.
Stay tuned to this blog for updates on the Royal Itinerary! One should be glad one did!