The Australian Government had issued a special commemorative booklet ahead of a royal visit which didn’t happen.

australia the royal visit 1952
1952 Souvenir booklet in anticipation of the forthcoming royal visit to Australia. Photo © Carolyn M Cash

The Government had issued an invitation for George VI and Queen Elizabeth to visit but they were unable to come, especially as the King was seriously ill, so they sent their daughter and her husband Prince Philip as their ‘personal ambassadors’.

Prime Minister Robert Menzies

However, George VI had passed away and Princess Elizabeth became Queen on 6 February 1952, whilst staying in Kenya, as she returned to London, so the official visit was postponed for two years.

The 36-page booklet, Australia: The Royal Visit, 1952, was presented to schoolchildren including high school students in Narrabri.

The booklet includes a message from Prime Minister Robert Menzies:

The chief purpose of this book is to tell you something about the Royal Visit to Australia and about the importance of the Royal Family in the life of the British Commonwealth of Nations.

We in Australia are very proud to welcome Their Royal Highnesses, Princess Elizabeth, and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh.

This book tells you how Princess Elizabeth can trace her descent right back through William the Conqueror and Alfred the Great, and other names you know so well, to King Egbert in the year 829 AD.

It makes clear to you why the British Royal Family has the love and respect of so many peoples. It shows you, too, how our daily lives are linked in so many ways with the Crown.

Within the Commonwealth we like to think of ourselves as one great family. I am sure the visit of Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh will strengthen our resolve to continue the tradition of mutual help in which the Royal Family sets us all such a splendid example.

The booklet includes details about the Royal Family, both past and present, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation in 1937, Princess Elizabeth’s duties, the royal residences, the Royal Household and earlier royal visits.

Front page of ‘Australia: The Royal Visit, 1952’. Photo © Carolyn M Cash

Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip were scheduled to visit between 1 March and 1 May, travelling over 9,600 kilometres (approximately 6,000 miles) by plane covering six states and Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory.

The royal couple would attend church services on Sundays, lay wreaths at war memorials and shrines to honour our dead, inspect servicemen and women in the Australian Defence Force and meet ex-service personnel.

A Message from the Prime Minister. Photo © Carolyn M Cash

According to the booklet, Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip would meet many Australians through many events hosted in their honour, including concerts, sporting events, garden parties and balls.

Queen Elizabeth was the first reigning monarch to visit Australia in 1954, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, during a gruelling 58-day visit, travelling by plane, train and automobiles.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip on the royal train at Central Railway Station, Sydney (NSW), in 1954. Source: State Records NSW

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