Queen Elizabeth II, in a bright pink coat and matching hat, looked surprised with a sly smirk at the sight of the shirtless Fijian warriors who met her at her car upon her arrival in Norwich, England.


Buckingham Palace touted today as the first meeting of the year between the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh; however, the Duke was not present. This spurred rumors that the Duke, 95, was ill. The actual reason was a scheduling error among the Royal aides, who were then made to admit their mistake.

The Queen went forward with her first public engagement of the year, during which she attended an exhibition about Fijian life and art in Norwich. She was greeted by Fiji’s High Commissioner, Jitoko Tikolevu, who showed respect by performing a traditional bula welcome. “It’s a sign of respect for the Royal Family only,” he explained. Apparently many Fijians still consider her their Queen, despite the country gaining independence in 1987.

The Queen, during her reign, has visited Fiji a number of times and is well aware of their traditions. She was presented with footage of her first royal visit in 1953, shortly after her coronation. “Ah, the canoe,” she reminisced, as the video showed her beside a traditional canoe at a ceremony.


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The exhibition even included a traditional canoe that was built for the Queen for her 90th birthday. “She shed a tear when the choir sang [the traditional farewell song] for her at the Royal Windsor Horse Show last year for her 90th birthday,” said Tikolevu.

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