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The Queen in Brisbane, with two koalas rescued from January's floods. (Tim Rooke/AP Images)

So the question is: what to lead with?

Here are the choices:

1. The Queen visits flood-ravaged Brisbane and applauds the rebuilding efforts there.

2. The Queen is mooned by a guy who reportedly had an Australian flag wedged between his butt cheeks.

We’ll take the high road this time, but we’ll hate ourselves in the morning.

The Brisbane Times estimated that 45,000 people showed up for the Queen’s four-hour visit. Many lined up along the banks of the Brisbane River to watch Her Majesty pass by via boat. The river was calm for the visit, but less than a year ago, it was a muddy, overflowing torrent that devastated whole neighborhoods of Queensland’s capital city.

Here’s a video report from Australia’s Courier Mail about the wait for the Queen to arrive in Brisbane:

“It was with great sadness that I followed the terrible consequences this past year of your normally peaceful river rising up and overwhelming this popular public space,” the Queen told the crowd in a speech.

As she opened a storm water control center to help prevent future flooding, she said, “Nine months later we are here to pay tribute to the resilience and courage of Queenslanders who bravely picked up their lives and rebuilt them after great adversity.”

In addition to meeting residents affected by the flooding, the Queen, joined by Queensland’s Premier Anna Bligh, also met two small koalas evacuated during the flooding. (See photo above right.) She seemed pleased to see them, but declined to pet them.

Here’s a report on the trip from the Telegraph:

Here’s another report from the Courier Mail, a personal essay by a photographer who was allowed to accompany the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh on their Brisbane River journey:

• Now, onto the mooning. If the monarchy itself seems something of an anachronism, so does Liam Warriner’s mooning stunt. Just what was the Sydney native thinking when he did it? Was he emulating Bart Simpson, who, if you’ll remember, used mooning as his preferred form of expression when he traveled to Australia? Why not streaking?

Warriner, who was charged with willful exposure and being a public nuisance proudly owned up to pulling down his trousers.

“I mooned the Queen,” he said. “I did it because my workmates dared me to.”

The Daily Mail said it was “doubtful” the Queen saw Warriner.

• Over the weekend, the Queen presided over the presentation of the royal colors to the Royal Military College at Duntroon. The presenting of the royal colors is a military tradition; historically, the colors were used to rally soldiers on the battlefield. This was the fourth time during her reign that the Queen has presented colors to Duntroon’s Royal Military College, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

“The presentation of colours,” the Queen said, “is a special opportunity to recognise the past achievements, to give thanks to a commitment and loyalty today, and to express confidence in the future.”

Here’s a video report, again courtesy of The Telegraph.


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By Paul Hechinger