LAST HURRAH: The 1947 Royal Tour of Southern Africa

LAST HURRAH: The 1947 Royal Tour of Southern Africa

GRAHAM VINEY    Book Number: 89368    Product format: Hardback

The Royal Tour of Southern Africa, 17 February - 23 April 1947, marked both the high-water mark of the British Empire and the point at which it began to unravel. Ostensibly the purpose of the tour, comprising King George VI and Queen Elizabeth and the Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret, was a show of imperial solidarity and a recognition of South Africa's contribution to the Allied cause in WWII, and particularly the work of South African PM Jan Smuts, who served on both British war cabinets. But also, for the young Princess Elizabeth, the Heiress Apparent who celebrated her 21st birthday during the tour, it was a crash-course in statecraft, duty and hard work. The family travelled ceaselessly in their specially commissioned white and gold train meeting thousands of people at every stop and it was the Princesses' first real experience of multiculturalism in the fractious, recently formed "nation" known as The Union of South Africa. Within a year of the tour, the Afrikaner Nationalists would impose Apartheid and the country would enter nearly four decades of darkness as an international pariah state. This study of the tour captures it in vivid detail, an intimate and revealing portrait of the royal family hard at work in the national interest and triumphantly succeeding, despite much undermining from factions in the host nation and back in Britain. How much must our Queen have learned "on the hoof" in those weeks! Viney's discerning eye picks out the important meetings and personalities in the quiet diplomacy going on behind the outward show of glitz, frippery and froth to present us with a fascinating look at the Empire, the Royals and 20th century South Africa. He was granted privileged access to the Royal Archive at Windsor and the South African National Archive in writing this book and this really shows in his recounting of the minutiae of day-to-day events and the wealth of photographs. 400pp with 16 superb colour and approx. 60 b/w photos.
Published price: £20
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ISBN 9781472143181
Browse this category: Modern History/Current Affairs

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