Watch: Queen Elizabeth II’s World Commonwealth Tour 1953-1954
|Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip arrive at Oakley Airport in Australia. Image: Wikimedia|
Since succeeding as Queen in 1952, Queen Elizabeth II has visited every Commonwealth country at least once. Her first and longest tour was between November 1953 and May 1954, when she embarked on the Word Commonwealth Tour, a trip that covered over 40,000 miles, one that took her to different Commonwealth states, including West Indies, Australia, Asia, and Africa. Together with Prince Philip, her first destination was Bermuda, where she spent two days and was welcomed by Governor Wood.
On February 4, 1954, she opened the Parliament of New South Wales in Australia, the first time that a sovereign opened an Australian parliament. She would repeat that task in February 1992.
By the end of the tour, she was in Sri Lanka, where she opened the Parliament in Colombo. During her visit to the country, she made headlines when she and Prince Philip visited a mud hut owned by an impoverished family in the North Central Province. The royal couple were presented with a sheaf of betel leaves in accordance with the Ceylonese tradition.
Her Majesty’s Commonwealth trip ended in Gibraltar, a visit made against the backdrop of a territorial dispute between Britain and Spain regarding ownership of Gibraltar but the crowd gave the Queen a warm welcome composing 27,000 servicemen and civilian which indicates where Gibraltar’s loyalty lay. That was Her Majesty’s first and only visit to Gibraltar until now.