The Queen continues her 10-day Australian trip, but other members of the royal family are on the move as well.
But we’ll start with the Queen.
She’s made a whirlwind four-hour jaunt to Melbourne from Canberra, her base for most of the trip, except for the final leg in Perth, where she will open the meeting of Commonwealth nations.
On Tuesday, the Queen laid a wreath at Australia’s war memorial in Canberra.
The 85-year-old monarch’s hectic pace has not gone unnoticed Down Under.
“The stamina of the royal couple has been a theme of the tour of Australia,” observed The Australian. “While the pace has been gentler than on previous visits, there have been official engagements every day as well as private ones.”
“She has been quite amazing,” a royal source was quoted by the paper. How does she do it? “It is good genes,” the source replied.
The source added that there’s been an “extraordinary” turnout for the Queen. “She has been delighted by the reaction of the Australian people and is having a lovely time,” the source said.
The Australian noted Prince Philip’s grueling schedule as well. It was just announced that less than 48 hours after he gets back to London, he is scheduled to fly to Italy to attend a conference on religion and the environment.
In other news about royals on the move:
• Prince Harry is, of course, still here with us in the U.S. for his military helicopter training. But it’s tracking down information about an alleged romantic entanglement that’s the biggest news about Harry right now. The media has been speculating at great length about the Prince’s relationship with a San Diego cocktail waitress named Jessica Donaldson. There have been tabloid reports of all sorts of intimacies, as well as denials, from the 26-year-old Donaldson herself, who says she already has a boyfriend. Also an issue of raging debate is whether the tattooed Donaldson looks like Kate Middleton, which some papers have suggested. Here’s an amusing report from ABC News:
• Harry is clearly used to traveling, but it appears that he’s going to be tapped to formally take the Royal Windsor Show on the road sometime next year. The Palace has decided that Harry will serve as a kind of royal ambassador to the Queen during her Jubilee next year and will make a royal visit to one of the 16 Commonwealth countries. The Queen herself will decide which country, with an announcement sometime early next year. The Toronto Sun picked up on reports that Canada is a leading contender, especially given the success of Kate and William’s visit there over the summer.
• Princess Anne is visiting Sierra Leone this week. She and her husband Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, are on a three-day trip to West African country, where they are attending commemorations on the 50th anniversary of the nation’s independence. Her mother, Queen Elizabeth, visited Sierra Leone almost 50 years ago, in 1961. (via AFP)
• Prince Charles and Camilla will be traveling to South Africa and Tanzania next week, November 2 to 9. The trips will focus on environmental issues, as well as education and trade. The African visits are meant as a prelude to the Durban Climate Summit. Charles will also make a quick two-day trip to the Middle East beginning October 31. He’s going to Kuwait to help celebrate its independence from Britain and its liberation from Saddam Hussein after the first Gulf War. He’ll then go to Qatar. (via The Evening Standard)
• Earlier this month, Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall took their delayed honeymoon to Cyprus. The tabloids saw it as a way of putting the media frenzy over Tindall’s much-publicized encounter with an ex behind them. The Daily Mail pointed out that Tindall is in “embrace with a glamorous blonde… but thankfully, this time it’s his wife.” Observers also took note of the fact that the couple seemed to be following the new royal tradition of economizing: they booked a package deal at the Columbia Beach Hotel near the city of Limassol.
The Queen’s eldest granddaughter and her husband, the captain of England’s defeated World Cup rugby team, spent most of their time sunbathing and reading. Zara read The Return, a romance set during the Spanish Civil War, by Victoria Hislop, while Mike read Engage, the biography of a rugby player paralyzed in training.