Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

Queen Elizabeth II visited more than 20 African countries during her reign, which saw the British Empire come to an end and independence sweep the continent. A special link to Britain endured through the Commonwealth of Nations, which the Queen led. It was a close – and sometimes complicated – relationship between the British monarchy and post-colonial Africa.Princess Elizabeth makes a broadcast from the gardens of Government House in Cape Town, South Africa, on the occasion of her 21st birthdayIMAGE SOURCE,GETTY IMAGESPrincess Elizabeth made a broadcast from the gardens of Government House in Cape Town, South Africa on her 21st birthday, dedicating her life to the service of the Commonwealth.”Everywhere I have travelled in these lovely lands of South Africa… my parents, my sister and I have been taken to the heart of their people and made to feel that we are just as much at home here as if we had lived among them all our lives,” she said.Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh on a bridge in the grounds of Sagana Lodge, their wedding present from the people of Kenya, 5th February 1952.IMAGE SOURCE,GETTY IMAGES1px transparent linePrincess Elizabeth is seen here at Treetops Hotel in Kenya with her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh in 1952. The day after this photo was taken, she heard the news that her father, King George VI, had passed away and she was to become Queen.Queen Elizabeth with Chief Oba Adenji-Adele IIIMAGE SOURCE,GETTY IMAGESThis was the first of two visits Queen Elizabeth made to Nigeria, in 1956, when it was still a British colony. The Queen is pictured here with Chief Oba Adenji-Adele II in Lagos. She also visited Calabar, Enugu, Jos, Kaduna, Kano and Port Harcourt.Queen Elizabeth with Ghana’s first post-independence president Kwame Nkrumah,IMAGE SOURCE,GETTY IMAGESQueen Elizabeth II dances with Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president and a figurehead of the decolonisation movement during her visit in 1961, just four years after Ghana’s independence. They danced to a high-life tune composed specially for the occasion called Welcome Your Majesty.Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip are pictured with Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa in 1965IMAGE SOURCE,GETTY IMAGESQueen Elizabeth and Prince Philip are pictured with Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa, during a state visit in 1965. The emperor took refuge in the United Kingdom between 1936 and 1941 following the Italian occupation of his homeland and was restored to the throne in 1941 when British and Commonwealth troops defeated the Italians.HM Queen Elizabeth II and President El Tigani El-Mahi, in a car together on the state drive from Khartoum Airport on a royal visit, Sudan, February 11th 1965.IMAGE SOURCE,GETTY IMAGES1px transparent lineQueen Elizabeth and Sudan’s President El Tigani El-Mahi on the state drive from Khartoum Airport, also in 1965. Her visit to Sudan included an afternoon of camel racing and a trip to the construction site of the Roseires Dam on the Blue Nile, which was completed the following year.Queen Elizabeth II is met by President Julius Nyerere at Dar es Salaam airport, at the start of a three-day State Visit, 18th July 1979.IMAGE SOURCE,GETTY IMAGESThe Queen with Tanzania’s President Julius Nyerere at the start of a three-day state visit in 1979.Eighteen years previously, Dr Nyerere had led the former British protectorate of Tanganyika to independence, becoming its first prime minister and later its first president. Over the years, he became increasingly anti-British and anti-European.Nevertheless, the UK government regarded him as a major stabilising force in an increasingly turbulent region.Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip with former president of Zimbabwe Robert MugabeIMAGE SOURCE,GETTY IMAGESZimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe was awarded an honorary knighthood by the Queen in 1994.But as tensions grew between Zimbabwe and the UK government over the president’s land reform programme and allegations of human rights abuses, Zimbabwe withdrew from the Commonwealth in 2003. Mr Mugabe was stripped of his knighthood in 2008.Queen Elizabeth arriving at Durban airport, South AfricaIMAGE SOURCE,GETTY IMAGESQueen Elizabeth is pictured arriving at Durban airport in 1995. She was on an official six-day visit to South Africa, which saw the best rainy season in 10 years, winning her the nickname Motlalepula, which means “to come with rain”.President Nelson Mandela leans forward as he speaks with Queen Elizabeth II at Avalon cemetery in Soweto, outside Johannesburg 23 March.IMAGE SOURCE,AFP1px transparent lineThe Queen and South Africa’s first black president, Nelson Mandela, were said to have a close friendship. The Queen signed letters to President Mandela with “Your sincere friend, Elizabeth R” and apparently referred to him as “Nelson”, while it’s said that he called her simply “Elizabeth” in a break from royal protocol.The Queen with Olusegun Obasanjo in 2003IMAGE SOURCE,AFP1px transparent lineThe Queen visited Nigeria for a second time in 2003. The country had been suspended from the Commonwealth over human rights abuses during Sani Abacha’s military rule in 1995 and re-admitted in 1999 after a return to civilian rule. The Queen and President Olusegun Obasanjo are seen here at the official opening of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Abuja.HRH Queen Elizabeth II smiles as she walks down the red carpet with the President of Uganda Yoweri Museveni, in front of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh and Janet Museveni at State House on November 21, 2007 in Entebbe, Uganda.IMAGE SOURCE,GETTY IMAGES1px transparent lineOn her last trip to the continent, in 2007, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch was met by one of Africa’s longest-serving presidents, Yoweri Museveni, who has been in power since 1986. She had visited Uganda once before – on her first official state visit to Africa as Queen in 1954.

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