The British Royal Family, His Majesty King George VI, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, accompanied by Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret, visited South Africa in the year 1947. At the time South Africa was known as the Union of South Africa and was a member of the Royal Commonwealth. After a turbulent Second World War had just ended, countries celebrated, looking for new futures filled with positivity and excitement. It was with this spirit in mind that the South African Government engaged in discussions with the British Government.
In 1901 the Duke of Cornwall and York – the future King George V – and his wife embarked on the longest official tour ever undertaken by the British Royal family. The tour lasted for nearly eight months and most of it was spent in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa, with brief calls at Gibraltar, Malta, Aden, Ceylon, Singapore and Mauritius. They travelled almost 50 000 miles.
Between 1910 and 1943, five “Governors-General” represented the British reigning monarch in South Africa. Each Governor-General played the role of the personal representative of the British King, while the “High Commissioner” interacted with the South African government on political, economic and diplomatic issues.
The recent discovery in the cellar of a home in Saxonwold, Johannesburg of an old discoloured, brass plaque is a heritage opportunity and opens space for reviewing the motives and outcomes of the Royal Visit to South Africa in 1947.
[Originally published 17 June 2014] Over the past year a number of community members have brought the derelict state of the Royal Natal National Park Hotel to our attention. It appears as though there is a flicker of light at the end of the tunnel with AMAFA officials visiting the site in 2013 and requesting a heritage survey to be done by a qualified heritage practitioner.