Editorial: Prince's visit to Timaru

Last updated 08:00 10/06/2014

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OPINION: To celebrate the Timaru Herald reaching its 150th anniversary, we're taking a look at some of the issues which have caught our attention over the years.

May 18, 1920

It is quite certain that the Prince conquered all hearts at the receptions tendered to him yesterday, as he had done in his progress further north. It is an amazing thing to say of a ceremony lasting hardly more than half an hour that the memory of it will be treasured by those taking part in it for the remainder of their lives, but that can be said with assurance of the welcome at Timaru.

It will be remembered because it was no mere formal welcome, short as it was, but one to which the Prince brought all the charm of a natural and most pleasing personality, and his future subjects the devotion of a loyalty deep, rather than tumultuous, which moved them to assemble from far and wide in the greatest concourse which this town has seen, and depart with a rare feeling of satisfaction.

The Prince has spoken, perhaps significantly, of this as his "first" visit to New Zealand, and if he is half as well pleased with this dominion as its people are with him, and the fates are as kind to him as we can hope that they will be, it should not be many years before he comes here again.

It was seen yesterday that he is a very boyish Prince, but that only endeared him more to those who have seen also the evidence of his kindliness, and know the ideal of duty which he has inherited from his father. The first of the "new Kings" was a Queen, to speak like Mr Chesterton, and it was said that when it was announced to her, as a young girl, that it would be her lot to wear a crown, her first remark was "I will be good."

In the same spirit the Prince of Wales looks forward to his great responsibilities. Already it is a heavy strain which the duties of his station are imposing on this youthful Prince. One reception has followed another very quickly since he landed in New Zealand, and to have hardly a moment to one's self for weeks on end is not a restful way of living. Even modern travelling, with the comfort that relieves it, can be tiring when the pace is hot enough, and the Prince's tours, lasting for months together at the rate of one hundred miles a day, have been different from the old Royal progresses in which a king took several weeks, perhaps, to make the circuit of a few counties.

No-one would travel as the Prince does for the sake of pleasure, and if selfishness had any part in him he might easily become the first Republican. His New Zealand tour, as successful as the best patriots in this country or Great Britain could have hoped it would be, is now drawing towards an end, and he must be a superhuman Prince if the rest of the Tasman Sea will not be grateful to him before that of Australia begins. But he himself has borne witness to the advantages of travel in opening the eyes and clearing the mind. "My recent travels," he declared before this tour was commenced, "have made me realise the necessity and importance of the closest personal intercourse between the nations of the Empire. For my own part, I mean to travel throughout the Empire as much as I possibly can."

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If the Prince's tour is widening his mind and increasing his knowledge, it is certain that no course could do more to draw the various parts of the Empire together in confirmed devotion to the Throne than that which he has emphasised and is following. The New Zealanders who have met him will never cease to have gracious memories of the Prince of Wales.

- The Timaru Herald

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