The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh were on an extensive month-long Tour of West Africa on this day in 1961 (60 years ago), visiting Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Gambia. The Tour of West Africa came after an extensive 2-month Tour of India and Pakistan with State Visits to Nepal and Iran, as well as the Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Banquet, which were followed by State Visits to Italy and the Vatican in May, and a long stay in Scotland in the Summer.
During their 9-day visit to Ghana, the Royal Couple were hosted by President Kwame Nkrumah, who first hosted a State Dinner in the Queen (wearing Queen Alexandra’s Kokoshnik Tiara) and Duke’s honour at the Ambassador Hotel in Accra. Ghana had become an Independent Nation in 1957, with the Queen as Queen of Ghana until 1960, when the country became a Republic.
Highlights of the visit included a series of Durbars in Tamale and Kumasi, when the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh met many of Ghana’s hundreds of Chiefs and Ruler, exchanging a variety of gifts. They also drove in procession through many towns and cities, being met with massive crowds.
There was another Banquet at which the Queen (wearing Queen Mary’s Lover’s Knot Tiara, the Coronation Necklace, and Queen Victoria’s Pearl Earrings) and President were pictured before President Kwame Nkrumah hosted a Farewell Ball in honour of the Queen (in the Vladimir Tiara and Cambridge Emerald Parure) and Duke at the State House in Accra, with the two pictured dancing to a version of ‘High Life’ composed specially for the occasion entitled ‘Welcome Your Majesty’.