Sunday Times Books LIVE Community Sign up

Login to Sunday Times Books LIVE

Forgotten password?

Forgotten your password?

Enter your username or email address and we'll send you reset instructions

Sunday Times Books LIVE

Jonathan Ball

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

In The Last Hurrah, Graham Viney has written a fascinating account of a pivotal moment in South African history

From February to April 1947, South Africa welcomed King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and the princesses, Elizabeth and Margaret.

The Royal Family travelled many thousands of kilometres across the country in the specially commissioned White Train. Graham Viney’s descriptions of the tour’s highlights allow the reader to follow this royal progress.

In vivid prose, he provides a fascinating analysis of a fractious society on the threshold of momentous change. The Last Hurrah also captures the political controversy surrounding the tour.

There was resistance, initially, from black and Indian nationalist politicians and, throughout, from Afrikaner Nationalists. Only a year later, in 1948, Smuts’s government was defeated in a general election, a victory won essentially on DF Malan’s racist ticket.

But the tour had truly been a last hurrah, a show of Empire solidarity and a recognition of South Africa’s contribution to the Allied cause during the Second World War, and specifically that of Prime Minister Jan Smuts. Wherever the Royal Family went, South Africans turned out in their thousands to cheer and welcome them.

The Last Hurrah draws on sources from far and wide, including the Royal Archives at Windsor, and includes a selection of previously unpublished photographs of the Royal Family on tour.

GRAHAM VINEY was educated at the Diocesan College (Bishops), Cape Town, and Oriel College, Oxford, where he read International Relations. He runs an international design company. In addition to numerous papers and articles has written two books, Colonial Houses of South Africa and The Cape of Good Hope, 1806 – 1872.

Book details


Please register or log in to comment