Royal Roundup: Australia Trip to Put the ‘Queen Back in Queensland’
When the Queen travels to Australia next month on an official ten-day state visit, she will officially open the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth.
The meeting, with the awkward acronym CHOGM, will host leaders from more than 50 Commonwealth nations and, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, “will be the biggest event held in Perth for almost 50 years.”
The Queen’s itinerary is still being planned, but her trip will start in Canberra on October 19 and include visits to Melbourne and Brisbane before she and Prince Philip head on to Perth on October 26th for the three-day CHOGM.
“Visit to put the Queen back in Queensland,” announced the Sydney Morning Herald about the stop in Brisbane, Queensland’s capital city.
Queensland’s Premier Anna Bligh said that although she’s in favor of Australia becoming a republic, she views the Queen as head of state and would pay her “appropriate respects.”
“I know Prince William‘s visit really gave people a shot in the arm after the terrible disasters that we had and I’m sure that people will feel the same when they see Queen Elizabeth here in late October,” Bligh said.
Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the visit, the Queen’s sixteenth trip to the country, was a “great honor.”
”Visits by the Queen are etched into the collective memory of the Australian people,” she said. ”Many Australians can recall her majesty’s previous visits as landmarks in their own lives.”
The Queen’s last Australian visit was in 2006. Here’s a video report from March 2006, when she visited Sydney:
In other royal related news:
• Australian newspapers showed special interest in a story about an incident that occurred during Queen Elizabeth’s first official trip to Australia in 1954, shortly after her coronation. It’s reported in the new biography Our Queen, by journalist Robert Hardman, and it certainly shows how time, and the media, have changed.
As an Australian television crew waited for the Queen and Prince Philip to emerge from a chalet in the Yarra mountain range of Victoria, they got a rare glimpse of a royal tantrum.
The Queen, writes Hardman, “was not merely cross – she was hurling shoes, threats and sporting equipment, and venting the sort of regal fury that, in another age, would have cost someone their head.”
And it was directed at her spouse.
A moment later, the Queen emerged from the chalet, pulled Philip back in and slammed the door. But a quick-thinking cameraman had gotten it all on film.
“Today, it would be a world exclusive,” writes the Sydney Morning Herald. ”Back then, different rules were in play. They were enforced by a curmudgeonly courtier, the royal press secretary Commander Richard Colville.”
And he charged out ”angrier than a wounded buffalo,” writes Hardman.
The senior cameraman, Loch Townsend, relates Hardman, ”was not about to enter mortal combat with the man British journalists knew as the Abominable No Man – or, simply, Sunshine.” Townsend opened the camera and gave the exposed footage to Colville.
A little while later, a more familiar, composed Queen came back outside, and said to Townsend: “I’m sorry for that little interlude, but, as you know, it happens in every marriage. Now, what would you like me to do?”
• There’s a big last-minute rush to see Kate Middleton’s wedding dress display at Buckingham Palace. The exhibit closes on Monday, and a palace announcement that there were just 1,000 tickets left created more of a frenzy. Advance sales for the last few days are already sold out, but tickets will be available at the door. Expect long lines. (via The London Evening Standard)