Royal New Zealand

Despite its growing independence and emerging national identity, New Zealand commemorated and celebrated its royal connections.

New Zealand was still a British colony at the beginning of the twentieth century, but one that was mostly self-governing. In 1907, King Edward VII granted New Zealand Dominion status. Although virtually independent, the British monarch remained the head of state represented by a Governor.

Economic, social and family links remained strong and Britain continued to control defence and foreign policy. This led to New Zealand declaring war on the German Empire when Britain did.

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Canterbury Museum 1975.250.3

Death of an Empress and a Queen

In 1901, Queen Victoria died and the Empire mourned her passing. Her long reign was memorialised in many ways, including ceramics, jewellery and handkerchiefs.

In the years between Queen Victoria’s death and the outbreak of war, two British kings were crowned. The coronation of Edward VII, the son of Queen Victoria, was held in 1902. Upon his death, his second son George was crowned king in 1911. King George V, a former naval officer, was the reigning monarch when Britain declared war. Kaiser Wilhelm II, the leader of the German Empire, was his cousin.