Queen Elizabeth first left British shores in February 1947 when she was 20-years-old. She was just a Princess at this time and made the royal tour with her father George VI, her mother Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and her sister Princess Margaret. The royal family journeyed to South Africa, which remains part of the Commonwealth. The King hoped “to make and to promote change in empire and the revolution in imperial strategy,” according to Sarah Bradford’s book Queen Elizabeth II: Her Life in Our Times.
The royal trip to South Africa was “to have a profound and lifelong effect,” on the Queen.
However, while the trip had a serious purpose and saw the then-Princess making a key speech, Elizabeth also managed to enjoy herself.
Photos snapped aboard the ship HMS Vanguard show a very different side to the Queen indeed.
The monarch’s public appearances nowadays can be considered fairly sedate affairs.
But the South Africa royal tour presented an opportunity for the young Elizabeth to let her hair down.
Incredible images show Elizabeth playing games with a large group of male sailors and her sisters on the HMS Vanguard.
One shows her holding hands with the men as they stand in a large circle on the deck.
Another shows her being grabbed by one of the young men who has his arms around Elizabeth as they play.
A third shot shows her laughing as she wheels around the deck seemingly trying to avoid being caught by the sailors in the game.
Princess Margaret too can be seen dashing around the deck with the all-male crew.
It would appear such jollity was not frowned upon as three other women seem to be looking on as the group enjoy their deck games.
Princess Elizabeth was the focus of the South Africa royal tour as she turned 21 while they were there on 21 April.
The day was declared a public holiday and she was gifted with a twenty-one-stone gemstone necklace.
Elizabeth’s important speech saw her making a “solemn act of declaration” to be devoted to the people of South Africa.
“It expressed what Elizabeth felt herself and would feel all her life, a sense of duty and dedication to the ties that bound Britain and the entity developing out of the Empire into the Commonwealth,” wrote Bradford.
Her appearance in South Africa resulted in the young royal featuring on the front cover of Time magazine.
Not all royal tours were a happy time for Queen Elizabeth. She was heavily criticised by UK media during her time in Malta with Prince Phillip in 1950. They commented on both her wardrobe choice and her weight – criticisms which Prince Philip perpetuated.
“Newspapers took her to task for looking like ‘an Edwardian vaudeville queen’,” wrote Kitty Kelley, in her book The Royals.
“Carpings out her weight and wardrobe disturbed her more than criticism about her children, especially coming from her husband.”
Published at Wed, 01 May 2019 15:21:00 +0000