Letter of thanks for the provision of apples for Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, 23 March 1992
In March 1992 Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands visited New Zealand, in commemoration of the 350th anniversary of Dutch explorer Abel Tasman’s sighting of New Zealand.
All royal visits require significant planning and organisation, and preparation begins months or years beforehand. This file from the Governor General’s office details the extensive planning that went into this tour, including ongoing discussion about how to respond to offers of fruit for the Queen.
A former Dutch citizen who ran an orchard in the Waikato had introduced the Royal Gala apple to New Zealand. The Queen had visited this orchard on a previous tour of New Zealand and a picture of her eating a Royal Gala apple had been published in a Dutch magazine. The orchardist wrote to the Secretary of Internal Affairs saying that they ‘would be delighted to supply Internal Affairs with a carton of top quality Royal Gala for Queen Beatrix, so that she will have Royal Gala at her disposal for when she retires to her room during her stay in New Zealand’.
This request was approved and the apples were delivered to Government House. A letter of thanks from the Comptroller of Government House was then sent to the orchardist noting that ‘the apples were obviously enjoyed, those not eaten were taken with the luggage, probably for further enjoyment while travelling from New Zealand to the Netherlands’.
Meanwhile another orchardist with Dutch connections, this time in Hastings, wrote to the Governor General offering the Queen a selection of new and as yet unnamed apple varieties. Furthermore, if the Queen were particularly taken with any of them the orchardist offered to name them after her.
This request required deeper consideration from Internal Affairs as it was a question of royal protocol, and a message was sent to the New Zealand ambassador in the Hague asking for guidance on the matter. The reply came back advising that:
‘it would be acceptable for a selection of apples to be placed in a fruit bowl arrangement in her majesty’s suite at Government House, with a note indicating the origin of the fruit. There should not be any formal or personal presentation of the apples ... The Queen would not wish to have a variety of apple named after her’
The apples were duly delivered to Government House, and another letter of thanks was sent stating that ‘the apples were obviously tasty as they all disappeared rather quickly’.
For more information on this item email Research.Archives@dia.govt.nz
Archives NZ reference: AAKU 26266 W5931 9 (R25044750)
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