With the recent visit of Prince Charles and Camilla to New Zealand it got me wondering if any royal souvenirs marked the occasion. Collectible objects celebrating royalty have been in demand since the 17th Century. However, is this still the case?
When Charles II married Catherine de Braganza of Portugal in 1662 a souvenir coin was cast in silver. No stranger to being immortalised in this fashion King Charles II was often pictured on stoneware and glassware. The marriage of cousins Prince William III and Mary II in 1677 saw the emergence of the commemorative plate and a royal mug was first produced for the coronation of King George II in 1727.
In more recent times images of the royals have made their way onto all kinds of objects, from milk bottle tops to hankies and baby’s bibs. In 1953 to celebrate the Queen’s coronation a royal thermos flask was available along side the more tradition items of commemorative medals and fine bone china. However, it was the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer’s in 1981 that really sent the royal souvenir industry into overdrive.
Among the many objects related to the royals in the Tauranga Heritage Collection is a Queen Victoria coin purse produced in 1897 to commemorate her long rein. The purse was donated to the collection in 1970 by Mrs W. Latimer of The Mall, Mt Maunganui. Other royal souvenirs in the collection include postcards, cups and scrapbooks full of cuttings lovingly curated by royal fans.