Strong support for monarchy expressed

Dunedin's response to Prince Philip’s death shows a continuing strong connection with the Royal Family, but times have also changed.

Victoria League in Otago president Christine Bell says the league’s annual meeting in Dunedin on Thursday will now include an initial tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh, including a minute’s silence.

"It’s the end of an era," she said.

New Zealand had maintained strong connections with, and had "a lot of warm feelings" towards, the monarchy, which provided a strong sense of stability in an uncertain world, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic, she said.

Dean of Dunedin, the Very Rev Dr Tony Curtis, said a condolence book at St Paul’s Cathedral in Dunedin, was being signed by parishioners and members of the public.

The book of condolence would remain open during the period of mourning.

President of the Victoria League in Otago Christine Bell with a condolence book at St Paul’s...
President of the Victoria League in Otago Christine Bell with a condolence book at St Paul’s Cathedral, Dunedin, yesterday. Photo: Peter McIntosh.
Emeritus Prof Tom Brooking said New Zealanders still felt "a pretty strong attachment" for the monarchy and the Royal Family.

That support was "not something that’s going to go away in any great hurry".

The historian was sceptical about some opinion polls showing reduced overall support, but there may have been a generational shift and some younger people taking a different view, he said.

Dunedin historian Dr Dorothy Page remembers seeing the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at the Grand Hotel in Dee St, Invercargill, where she was doing holiday waitressing work, during a Royal tour in 1953-54.

There were still strong cultural ties with Britain and continuing links with the monarchy, but New Zealand had become more of a Pacific nation and some people now questioned the monarchy’s relevance, she said.

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