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, 7-month reign of her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria. She was the first British monarch to celebrate a Platinum (70th) Jubilee, an historic milestone which she reached in 2022. The Queen died on 8 September 2022 (9 September New Zealand time), aged 96, and was succeeded as monarch by her son, who became King Charles III.

Under the concept of the ‘divisible Crown’, she reigned 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 changed considerably.

Female staying power

New Zealand has had seven monarchs since entering the British Empire in 1840. Five have been men, but women have dominated the period. Queen Victoria, who came to the throne in 1837, died in 1901. Queen Elizabeth II reigned for 70 years, 7 months. 

New Zealand’s monarchs since 1840 have been:

  • Victoria: 1840–1901
  • Edward VII: 1901–10
  • George V: 1910–36
  • Edward VIII: 1936
  • George VI: 1936–52
  • Elizabeth II: 1952–2022
  • Charles III: 2022−
How to cite this page

'Queen Elizabeth II', URL: https://nzhistory.govt.nz/politics/queen-elizabeth, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 14-Sep-2022