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History Rewind: Queen returns after 6 month Commonwealth tour

Today in 1954, The Queen and the Royal Family returned after a six-month tour of the Commonwealth to a enthusiastic welcome in London.

1953: The Queen in Timaru, a major port in the southern Canterbury region of New Zealand. 1953: The Queen in Timaru, a major port in the southern Canterbury region of New Zealand.

Crowds gathered on the banks of the River Thames to catch a glimpse of the Royal Yacht Britannia bringing Her Majesty and the Royal family home.

Numerous sirens from ships and even factories rang out as the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles and Princess Anne made their way down the Thames. They were joined by the Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill. The Prime Minister boarded the yacht at Yarmouth, on the Isle of Wight the previous day and spent the night upon the invitation of The Queen.

The Tower Bridge greeted the Royal arrival with a red and white ‘Welcome Home’ banner. The bridge opened their twin arms in order to allow the Britannia to sail through.

Upon the mooring of Britannia, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret boarded the yacht for the journey to Westminster.

Upon departure they were met with a resounding 41-gun salute from the Tower of London.

The Royal Family travelled to Buckingham Palace in three carriages past the thousands of cheering onlookers. Upon their arrival to Buckingham Palace, The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh and their two children, stepped out onto the balcony. They would make four balcony appearances that day.

Her Majesty’s first Commonwealth tour was an exhausting journey that lasted approximately six months. It covered 43,618 miles by air, sea and land.

The Queen visited numerous countries that had never been visited by a ruling monarch.

photo credit: Archives New Zealand via photopin cc

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