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Platinum Jubilee: Queen Elizabeth II Days in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda

Is the Queen of England snubbing Tanzania? The Monarch payed a fleeting tour to the country just once in 1979 but kept touring Kenya, Uganda

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Queen Elizabeth II visited Tanzania in 1979… It was the first and would also be her last time in the country.

In the rather aged picture, she is seen inspecting the guard of honor at the Terminal One of Dar-es-Salaam International Airport (DIA).

During the 1979 special guard of honor for the Queen, some Tanzanian military personnel such as Brigadier Abdallah Twalipo and Major Sekwao, can be identified.

The British Monarch has visited Tanzania only once and that was in 1979. She was welcomed here by her host, the former President, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere.

She was on her way from Zambia where she attended the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

That was the fifth Meeting of the Heads of Government of the Commonwealth of Nations taking place in Lusaka and was attended by 39 countries.

The Queen stepped in Tanzania only once in 1979. But has been a regular visitor to other East African States

Coincidentally, another Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting comes up this month in Kigali, Rwanda.

Except this time the Queen Elizabeth II will not attend. She will be represented by her grandson Prince William.

William, the Duke of Cambridge, was in Tanzania in 2017 when the heir to British Crown stayed at Mkomazi National Park for three days, admiring Rhinos.

The Prince and the Rhino at Mkomazi National Park in 2017 (File photo)

Commonwealth in Details?

Queen Elizabeth II became monarch while in Kenya, On February 6, 1952.

A visit by Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip to Kenya in 1952 occurred during their 6-month Commonwealth Tour; the tour ended a few days after King George VI’s death.

The then-Princess Elizabeth was staying at Treetops Hotel in Kenya with her husband Prince Philip.

During their itinerary in Kenya, Princess Elizabeth was told by her husband that her father King George VI had passed away in his sleep from a coronary thrombosis.

Princess Elizabeth in Kenya in 1952 (File). She made another brief stopover in the country 20 years later in 1972
Elizabeth returned to Kenya in 1983 this time already a Queen. She is with President Moi (Right) and Vice President Mwai Kibaki (Left)

At the time, Elizabeth was just 25 years old and cancelled the rest of her royal tour so she could return home as soon as possible.

The Queen and Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, visited Uganda in 2007 to open the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kampala.

The Queen in Uganda (Photo: China Daily)

Both the Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh previously visited Uganda in 1954. Prince Philip however revisited Uganda again in 1964.

Return to East Africa

Queen Elizabeth II would return to Kenya in 1983 during the reign of President Daniel Arap Moi.

Apparently Elizabeth, who has made more than 120 trips abroad as British Monarch, never returned to Tanzania after the 1979 commonwealth trip.

The year before her trip, that is in 1978 her son, Prince Charles did visit Tanzania. That was before both William and Harry were born.

Prince Charles went to as far as Njombe, the Southern Highlands Region, which by then was still part of Iringa Region. He was reportedly inspecting some projects.

Prince Charles after landing in Njombe, then part of Iringa Region in 1978,

In the photo, Prince Charles is seen at the Njombe airport with the former Minister in the first phase government, Jackson Makweta.

The Prince of Wales returned to Tanzania 33 years later, in 2011 accompanied by his wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall.

In the shack. Prince Charles and Camilla, in Kilimanjaro area, listening to Israel Ole Karyongi (Right) a Maasai Community Representative in 2011 (Photo: Marc Nkwame)

Before platinum, there was Diamond Jubilee

In 2012 Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her Diamond Jubilee.

Singers and other artists were picked from practically all commonwealth member states, including Kenya and Uganda to color the celebrations in London, but Tanzania was left out.

Despite the fact that, the man behind the Queen’s Jubilee show, Gary Barlow, of the Take That fame, had visited Tanzania and actually climbed Mount Kilimanjaro at Moshi in 2009 on charitable course.

Sleeping on the Job: Gary Barlow during the 2009 Mount Kilimanjaro expedition for charity (Photo: The Mirror)

Before Diamond Jubilee, there was the ‘Pink Diamond!’

One of the most iconic photos of the British Monarch is the one taken in 1947 when Elizabeth Alexandra Mary who later became the Queen, was yet to ascend the throne.

The then Princess Elizabeth was being presented with the legendary Pink Diamond by Honorable Iqbal Chopra K.C the then Member of the Legislative Assembly.

Tanzania Times
Lizzy in the Sky with a Diamond.’ Iqbal presents the Princess with a Pinkie star (Photo: Jarat Chopra)

Iqbal Chopra was the partner of J.T. Williamson in the Mwadui Diamond Mine.

The photo was courtesy of Jarat Chopra is the grandson of Iqbal, currently working as a lawyer in London.

Jarat himself was born on the shores of Lake Duluti in Arumeru District of Arusha. Northern Tanzania.

His grandfather Iqbal was an associate of J.T Williamson at the then Williamson Diamond Mine (Mwadui).

The Williamson pink diamond, which has been accompanying the Queen at various occasions, is a flawless pink diamond discovered at the Williamson diamond mine in Mwanza back in 1947.

The owner of the mine, Canadian geologist John Williamson, and former associate Iqbal Chopra, presented the uncut stone to Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip as their wedding gift, in November 1947.

The partners presented the Diamond to the then Princess Elizabeth as a wedding gift on behalf of the people of Tanganyika, today Tanzania, a month before the royal nuptial.

The two men were very different in character; Williamson the self-effacing geologist who made the crucial discovery, and Chopra the extrovert man of affairs who arranged the finance, kept officialdom and potential rivals at bay and ensured that control remained with the two partners.

Jarat Chopra the grandson of Iqbal, at the Kaaya clan of Meru, during his visit to Arusha in 2010 (Photo: Marc Nkwame)

Characteristically the actual presentation was made by Chopra who always reveled in the limelight, rather than by Williamson who preferred to remain behind the scenes.

Elizabeth II was Queen of Tanganyika from 1961 to 1962, when the country (which later became Tanzania after uniting with Zanzibar) was an independent sovereign state and a constitutional monarchy. 

Angela Benedicto Mnagoza a Tanzanian lady (Center) was presented with a Queen’s Young Leaders Award in 2015 by the Monarch (Right) for promoting the rights of child domestic workers in Tanzania through education and awareness raising.

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