QE II turns 90

April 22nd, 2016 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar


Her Majesty has turned 90. Many good photos of her but this one is my favourite. Those pictured from left to right are:

  • James, Viscount Severn, 8 (10th in line to the throne)
  • Lady Louise Windsor, 12, (11th)
  • Mia Tindall (holding the Queen’s handbag), 2 (17th)
  • Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, 11 months (4th)
  • Savannah Phillips, 5 (14th)
  • Prince George of Cambridge, 2 (3rd)
  • Isla Phillips, 3, (15th)

The Queen is by far the oldest living British Monarch. Victoria and George III both made 81, then Edward VIII made 77 and George II 76.

NZ in 1952

September 9th, 2015 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Queen Elizabeth II becomes Queen of New Zealand in 1952, when she ascended to the British Throne.

Most of us were not of course even born then. So what was New Zealand like in 1952.

  • Governor-General was Lord Freyberg, the commander of NZ forces in WWII
  • Sidney Holland was Prime Minister and Minister of Finance – would be unthinkable today for someone to do both
  • Walter Nash was Opposition Leader
  • Sir Matthew Oram was Speaker, a WWI veteran who was MP for Manawatu
  • The Mayor of Auckland was John Allum, an engineer
  • The Mayor of Wellington was Robert Macalister, a lawyer
  • The first feature film since WWII was produced, Broken Barrier – about a relationship between a Pākehā journalist, and a Māori woman
  • Yvette Williams won our first female gold medal at the Olympics with a long jump of 6.24 metres. Today the record is 7.52 metres.

Well known New Zealanders born in 1952 include Sir John Walker, Dame Jenny Shipley, Warren Lees, Jeremy Coney, Tim Finn, Sandra Lee, Chris Knox, Graham Mourie, Sue Bradford, Tame Iti, Sukhi Turner and Marilyn Waring.

In 20 days QEII breaks the record

August 24th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

In 20 days, the Queen will become the longest reigning monarch of the United Kingdom or any kingdom within it. That is the longest over 1,145 years of monarchy.

The 10 longest reigning are:

  1. Queen Victoria (UK) 63 years, 216 days
  2. QEII (UK) 63 years 196 days
  3. George III (UK) 59 years 96 days
  4. James VI (Soctland) 57 years 46 days
  5. Henry III (England) 56 years 29 days
  6. Edward III (England) 50 years 147 days
  7. William I (Scotland) 48 years 360 days
  8. Llyweln the Great (Wales) 45 years
  9. Elizabeth I (England) 44 years 127 days
  10. David II (Scotland) 41 years 260 days

The shortest reign was Lady Jane Grey for 13 days in 1553.

The PM and the Queen

September 24th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

I’ve been trying to think of the last time a NZ Prime Minister (and their family) was invited to stay at Balmoral, and I can’t recall it ever happening before.

The Queen has had 14 New Zealand Prime Ministers during her reign, and according to media reports Key is the first to ever be invited. He even had the 87 year old Monarch drive him around the estate!

The UK PM does get invited regularly, but it is a first for a NZ PM, and I think possibly for an Australian or Canadian PM also.

The question is why was Key invited, when no other NZ PM has been? He is not the longest serving.

I think it is purely the strength of their personal relationship. I recall when in 2008 the Herald profiled Key and spoke to former colleagues and competitors. Despite working in a cut throat industry, no one had a bad word to say about him. Likewise in the job as PM, he has struck up warm personal (on top of the purely professional) relationships with Julia Gillard, David Cameron and it seems the Queen (and Prince William).

A historic handshake

June 28th, 2012 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Photo from Stuff.

In one sense it is not unusual for the Queen to meet and shake the hand of “her” deputy first minister in Northern Ireland, but Martin McGuinness is better known for his former roles in the Provisional IRA, including allegedly its Chief of Staff from 1978 to 1982.

Some will not like this, but I think it is another good step forward. Norther Ireland today is far better off than when the conflict was in full flight.

UPDATE: Also worth noting that McGuinness probably signed off on the assassination of Lord Mountbatten in 1979, who in a cousin of the Queen’s and uncle of Prince Philip. I understand Prince Philip went out of his way, not to shake hands which is understandable. The Queen however must do what is best for her country.

With respect butt out your Majesty

June 7th, 2012 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

With all respect, the decisions made around the Christchurch Cathedral are not an issue that should need to be justified to someone living in London. The decisions are a matter for the Anglican Church in Christchurch and New Zealand.

The Queen’s Jubilee

June 5th, 2012 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The British High Commission hosted a breakfast function this morning for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee at the High Commissioner’s Homewood residence in Karori. It is a beautiful property and grounds – well worth visiting if you are ever invited.

A few people gently hassled me about why a member of the Republican Movement Council would attend a function for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. My answer was firstly that I want New Zealand, not the United Kingdom, to become a republic. So I’m very happy to acknowledge the service of QEII as Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Putting aside the political and constitutional issues, I also have no problem respecting her incredible devotion to duty.  Even at age 86 she still spends much of her time with public duties. She has served as patron to 600 charities, and has toured over 250 countries. These are not sightseeing trips, but working trips.

With the exception of the death of Diana, she has basically not put a step wrong in 60 years of the throne – a serious achievement considering the huge proportion of time she has spent under public scrutiny. If you have to have a monarchy, then the British one is a pretty good one to have (even though Princess Madeleine of Sweden remains my favourite!).

If the Queen lives to the same age as her mother, she will make her platinum jubilee in ten years time, and maybe even her a 75th jubilee also.

Of course poor Prince Charles himself will be 78 in 15 year times, and even Prince William will be 45. With life expectancy for those with excellent health care often making 100, it may mean in future most monarchs will not ascend to the throne until they are around 70. This is one of the issues around keeping a job until death!

The diamond jubilee

February 7th, 2012 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The queen is now the second longest-serving monarch in British history after Queen Victoria, who reigned from 1837 to 1901.

During Elizabeth’s reign there have been 12 British prime ministers, 12 US presidents and six popes.

I believe NZ should become a republic, but I am also a big fan of QEII whose devotion to duty is without peer.

Incidentally she has had 14 New Zealand Prime Ministers, and by coincidence she has also had 14 Governor-Generals represent her.

Some facts from the diamond jubilee website:

  • Only Queen Victoria has served for longer – 63 years. It seems likely that record will be broken in 2015.
  • The Queen is the 40th monarch since William the Conqueror.
  • Both Tony Blair and David Cameron were born after the Queen ascended to the throne, and hence have had no other Sovereign.