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A New Zealand Royal Presentation Portrait of the Prince of Wales, 1920
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A New Zealand Royal Presentation Portrait of the Prince of Wales, 1920

Measurements: Overall: 21cm (8.25in) x 15cm (69.5in)



A full length portrait of Edward, Prince of Wales (afterwards King Edward VIII and Duke of Windsor (1894 - 1972), signed 'Edward P 1920’. Contained an easel backed, glazed, silver plated frame, engraved 'Government House N.Z. 1920’. Image: 9.5cm (3.75in) x 5.75cm (2.25in).

Prince Edward’s month-long 1920 New Zeland tour was marred by embarrassing bungles made of several engagements. After a week's delay, because of an epidemic on the ship, the 25-year-old Prince left Portsmouth on 16 March 1920 on H.M.S. Renown, Britain's newest and biggest battle cruiser, and arrived at Auckland on 24 April. Remaining at Auckland until 27 April he then travelled by train to Rotorua, where the itinerary was disrupted by a rail strike. After a Maori reception the Royal party was able to return to Auckland where, Government House being unprepared, Prince Edward stayed onRenown until 2 May, by which time some agreement in the rail dispute had been reached and the programme could be resumed. After arriving in Auckland, he made his way by train to Wellington on 5 May, with H.M.S. Renown sailing into the harbour ahead of time. The prince travelled from the railway station to Government House in a convoy of slow-moving cars, crowded by adoring subjects and showered with confetti, apparently a pet hate of his. About thirty people climbed on to the royal cars, startling the drivers and leading to a boy getting his leg crushed. The boy was removed’ according to Louis Mountbatten, ‘still cheering’.

High winds destroyed the bunting and plaster shield decorations the city had prepared, but several prominent buildings were lit spectacularly in red, white and blue, or topped with stars and crowns.Meanwhile the press loyally reported ‘There was something inexpressibly grand in the tumult of acclamation that never ceased or fell as his car threaded its way through the massed multitude.’ On 7 May the prince was forced to watch a pageant of colonial history. Crowds were more interested in seeing the prince than the actors, and the event descended into chaos, with a drunk Captain Cook needing to be replaced at the last minute, and a pig in the tableau running amok. The day before a grandstand erected for a military review collapsed before Edward arrived. ‘A royal tour was a rotten way of seeing a fine country’, Edward concluded. 'Returned soldiers and shrieking people and school children are all that I shall remember of my visit.’ The press, nevertheless, concluded that Edward was a ‘chivalrous gentleman and a thorough good sport … The prince has come and conquered, and carries away with him not only the loyal good wishes, but also the warm personal affection of the citizens of Wellington.’