Queen Elizabeth II’s time in Ghana: Here’s a throwback

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For her reign as the longest ever British Monarch, Queen Elizabeth II’s 70-year rule took her to almost every country in the world.

These included several visits to many previous British colonies in Africa especially Ghana.

After her coronation in 1953, Queen Elizabeth II said in her Christmas broadcast in 1958, that she and her husband would be visiting Ghana in late 1959.

This led to the Ghanaian highlife band ‘King Bruce and the Black Beats’ composing one of the best highlife tunes ‘5 million Ghanaians will go gay’ in anticipation for the visit

However, due to her pregnancy with her second son Prince Andrew, the Queen postponed her visit.

She finally fulfilled her promise to visit Ghana by landing in Accra on November 9, 1961.

The visit was preceded by lengthy deliberations regarding risks because of a bombing campaign in Ghana by opposition operatives.

Queen Elizabeth in Ghana

British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan’s statement on November 8, was as follows: “… I thought it right that the Commonwealth Secretary should pay a second visit to Ghana. This has been done. He returned to this country this morning. My colleagues and I have had from him a full appreciation of the position based on his personal inquiries on the spot.”

From the moment Elizabeth arrived in Ghana, along with Prince Philip, she was surrounded by crowds and excitement. Post-independence, the country had embarked on a program of “African socialism” in an attempt to strengthen its economy after years of colonialism.

At a state dinner, Ghanaian President Dr. Kwame Nkrumah toasted Elizabeth by saying, “The wind of change blowing through Africa has become a hurricane. Whatever else is blown into the limbo of history, the personal regard and affection which we have for Your Majesty will remain unaffected.” The queen’s reply touched on the fact that nations of the Commonwealth could disagree without members needing to leave.

Queen Elizabeth II also captured attention by dancing with Nkrumah. Having the queen and a former colonial subject arm-in-arm on the dance floor was a way to demonstrate her acceptance of a new footing between their countries.

The Queen visited Ghana for the second time in 1999, as the first stop on her African tour. Ghana turned back its musical clock for the visit, reviving “golden oldies” that topped the local charts when she last visited in 1961.

Queen Elizabeth II died on Thursday, September 8, 2022, at Balmoral Castle in Scotland at the age of 96, after 70 years reigning as queen