Far distant though it may be from the Mother Country, New Zealand has always had a reputation for patriotism and affection for the Royal Family. Royal visits over a period of 100 years have all been characterised by widespread enthusiasm and interest. A feature of each royal occasion has been the emphasis given to opportunities for children, returned servicemen, and the sick and aged to see, and be seen by, royalty.
Tours have not always been unmarred by tragedy – war and death have intervened more than once to interfere with plans. In 1867 Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, had to postpone his visit for a year as the result of an attempt on his life in Sydney. In more recent years hopes were high for a visit from George VI and Queen Elizabeth at the time of His Majesty's final fatal illness; and his daughter was in the midst of a tour which would have included New Zealand when the King's sudden death necessitated her return to England.