The Queen has been on the throne for over 68 years; she will celebrate her Platinum Jubilee in 2022. She has been the only head of state an independent Papua New Guinea has known. Her first British Prime Minister was Sir Winston Churchill. Her first Papua New Guinean Prime Minister was Sir Michael Somare. She – and her family – have been regular visitors to Papua New Guinea.
The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Princess Royal came in 1974, and Her Majesty and His Royal Highness returned for the Silver Jubilee in 1977, arriving in Port Moresby, and later visiting Popondetta and Alotau. They returned again in 1982. The Duke of Edinburgh also visited the country early in the Queen’s reign, during an extended Commonwealth tour in 1956/7.
The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012 were marked with a visit from The Prince of Wales, who spoke to crowds in Port Moresby in Tok Pisin, referring to himself as ‘nambawan pikinini bilong misis kwinn’ (the number one child of the Queen). He paid tribute to the ‘extraordinary courage’ of Papua New Guinea’s Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels – who aided Australian troops during World War Two – and delivered greetings from the Queen:
“Mi bringim bikpela tok hamamas bilong mejesti kwin Papua Niugini na olgeta haus lain bilong mi lon dispela taim bilong Diamon Jubili bilong Misis Kwin. Mi tokpisin orait?
(I bring you greetings from Her Majesty the Queen of Papua New Guinea and from all my family members during this celebration of the Diamond Jubilee of the Queen. Was my Pisin correct?”)
He went on to speak about the Queen’s reign and her special relationship with Papua New Guinea, saying, ‘This is a great day and a magnificent spectacle. We are gathered here to celebrate the Queen’s 60 years of service to others. I know how honoured Her Majesty is to be your Queen, a title borne by her with immense pride and renewed by the people of this great country upon independence in 1975.’
His Royal Highness had also visited in 1984 when he opened the new Parliament House, and in 1975 when the country celebrated its independence.
Most recently, The Duke of York officially opened the 2015 Pacific Games in Papua New Guinea on behalf of Her Majesty, as well as visiting Commonwealth war graves at Bomana Cemetery.