I was one of the 42 000 school children who contributed to the brooch, which was presented to our present Queen (then Princess Elizabeth) at a ceremony at Government House by four senior scholars representing the various races. At this time I was at Blakiston Juniour School when there was a competition at many of the schools to choose two scholars from each, and I was lucky enough to be chosen from Blakiston, phew what an honour. The song was to be performed at a garden party in the park near what was the the most beautiful part of the park near the lily pond opposite Queen Elizabeth School. As the day drew near for the arrival of the Royal entourage the excitement grew, and I remember standing at the top of Third street as it joined North Avenue to watch the cars with the King, Queen and the two Princesses arriving from the airport. It was a terribly hot dry dusty day, and these poor ladies with their peaches and cream complexions waved to us all, but they must have been so hot. We had to remain in our places to cheer them back down again for the State Opening of Parliament, another very grand and memorable occasion.
On the day of the garden party we had to be in our places hours before the actual event, but when the Royal Party arrived the wait was so well worth it. The Queen was dressed in a full length white lace dress, and the princesses each wore long dresses with beautiful picture hats, so suitable against the hot African sun. Then the moment arrived when it was time to sing our song of welcome which had been written by a gentleman called Tedo Miles.
Oh hail our King oh hail our Queen, oh hail Princesses to,
You have come so far to see us,
Rhodesia welcomes you,
You have come by land and sea and air
To visit our Rhodesia, we hope you find her fair.
I can't remember any of the other verses.
After we had finished singing, the King and Queen came and spoke to us, and the Kind asked how many schools were represented. There was only a thin rope separating us, a far cry from the tight security today.
Another small piece of memorabilia was my darling grandmother was chosen to represent the Pioneer Society, and was presented to the King and Queen. All in all this was one of the most memorable periods in my life.
All this took place in April 1947. Princess Elizabeth was married to Phillip Mountbatten on the 20th November of the same year, and she become Queen Elizabeth II in June 1953. The Queen will, God willing celebrates her Sapphire anniversary in November of this year.
I see in your note on the making of the brooch that it was made by Eric Kilpin. This is interesting, as there were press reports at the time that the brooch had been made by Mr. Bell of Bell's jewellers in Stanley Avenue opp. HM Barbour.
I always get a warm feeling whenever I see the Flame Lily Brooch being worn, and yes it does seem to be a favourite of hers.
Margaret Evans (nee Cattrall)