A Royal Affair
Whilst browsing through a collection of material from our up-coming Worldâs Fairs resource, a familiar face appeared to me amidst a stream of photographs of jubilant crowds, exotic pavilions and iconic industrial feats. It was none other than Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II attending Expo 67, Montrealâs international exposition. With celebrations ongoing for the Queenâs achievement of Great Britainâs longest reigning monarch, I thought Iâd throw in my (royally minted) two pennies worth with these lovely snapshots, taken almost 50 years ago.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on the Expo 67 Minirail and standing in front of the 'Family of Man' sculpture. Image @ Library and Archives Canada. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Montrealâs exposition commemorated the centennial of the Canadian Confederation which was established under the rule of Queen Victoria. Here, a century later, her great-great granddaughter Elizabeth joins in with the celebrations as she samples the delights of the Expo 67 site.
Queen Elizabethâs appearance at Expo 67 marked a tradition that had begun four generations before her with her great-great grandfather, Prince Albert. The Prince conceived of the idea of an international exposition to showcase and celebrate industry and culture across Britainâs Empire. This culminated in the hugely successful and influential Great Exhibition of 1851 which started a trend in international exhibitions that continues to this day. Since then, the legacies of the Queenâs family and of worldâs fairs have been intertwined and evidence of this is scattered throughout the diverse collection of material we have available in our Worldâs Fairs resource.
Image @ Victoria and Albert Museum. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Above is Prince Albertâs signed fair pass used for his admission to the Great Exhibition. Two generations later Queen Elizabethâs grandfather, King George V opened the British Empire Exhibition in 1924 at Wembley Park and below is a beautiful map of the fair site, designed by Kennedy North:
Image @ Madden Library, Fresno State. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
The map is inscribed with the following message from Queen Elizabethâs uncle âEdward Pâ, the Prince of Wales, over ten years before his controversial abdication:
âWe must unite to make the British Empire Exhibition a success worthy of our race â I shall hope to see many friends from the Dominions and Colonies at Wembley Park in 1924â.
With the UK planning a bid to host the worldâs Expo 2025, the latest additions to the Windsor family may soon get their chance to share in this 164 year old tradition and, more importantly, to have a jolly good day at the fair!
Worldâs Fairs: A Global History of Expositions will be published in spring 2016. Full access restricted to authenticated academic institutions who have purchased a license.