Queen Elizabeth II

Page 1 – Introduction

Queen Elizabeth II became New Zealand’s monarch on 6 February 1952, following the death of her father, King George VI. In September 2015 she became the longest-reigning British monarch when she surpassed the 63-year reign of her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria. She is the first British monarch to celebrate a Platinum (70th) Jubilee, an historic milestone which she reached in 2022.

The Queen is New Zealand’s head of state. Under the concept of the ‘divisible Crown’, she reigns as Queen of New Zealand independently of her position as Queen of the United Kingdom. Her title was confirmed by the Royal Titles Acts of 1953 and 1974, the latter entitling her ‘Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God Queen of New Zealand and Her Other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith’.

Over the seven decades of Elizabeth’s reign both New Zealand and its monarchy have changed considerably.

Female staying power

New Zealand has had six monarchs since entering the British Empire in 1840. Four have been men, but women have dominated the period. Queen Victoria, who came to the throne in 1837, died in 1901. Queen Elizabeth II has reigned since 1952. Together the two women have reigned for all but 51 years since colonisation in 1840.

New Zealand’s monarchs have been:

  • Victoria: 1840–1901
  • Edward VII: 1901–10
  • George V: 1910–36
  • Edward VIII: 1936
  • George VI: 1936–52
  • Elizabeth II: 1952–
How to cite this page

'Queen Elizabeth II', URL: https://nzhistory.govt.nz/politics/queen-elizabeth, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 8-Feb-2022