Friday, 26 May 2017

Manchester: A message from Her Majesty The Queen

Her Majesty meets Evie Mills, aged 14, from Harrogate, and dad, Craig at the hospital in Manchester.

The Queen told victims in Manchester Children's Hospital the attacker was 'very wicked to target' the concert on Monday.

A message from Her Majesty The Queen to the Lord-Lieutenant of Greater Manchester

23rd May 2017

The whole nation has been shocked by the death and injury in Manchester last night of so many people, adults and children, who had just been enjoying a concert.

I know I speak for everyone in expressing my deepest sympathy to all who have been affected by this dreadful event and especially to the families and friends of those who have died or were injured.

I want to thank all the members of the emergency services, who have responded with such professionalism and care.

And I would like to express my admiration for the way the people of Manchester have responded, with humanity and compassion, to this act of barbarity.

ELIZABETH R.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Order of the British Empire marks centenary in the presence of HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh



Two days after the horrible attack on children, teenagers, men and women in Manchester The Most Honourable Order of the British Empire celebrated its centenary in a service of dedication at St Paul’s attended by Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh.

The service on Wednesday 24th May 2017 was attended by 2,000 people from across the UK and Commonwealth who are holders of the Order awards, the GBE, KBE, CBE, OBE, MBE and British Empire Medal.

The Queen, who is the Sovereign of the Order and Prince Philip, who is the Grand Master, were met by the Lord Mayor of London and greeted by the Dean of St Paul's, the Cathedral Chapter and Officials of the Order.

In his Bidding Prayer, the Very Reverend David Ison, Dean of St Paul's, thanked God for the lives of members of the Order, "for the adventure and courage, idealism and diligence, contributed to the life of our world." Following the attack in Manchester, he prayed "we commend to God's love those who suffer at the hands of others in Manchester and elsewhere."

In his sermon, in which he looked at the work of the Order and its award holders, the Dean said: "Jesus Christ reminds us that honour is due, not to those who think highly of themselves, but to those who think highly of other."

The Queen enters the service with the Very Reverend David Ison,Dean of St Paul's


Hymns included Ye holy angels bright and Guide me, O thou great Redeemer, and the Cathedral Choir sang a number of anthems including Lo! God is here! with words written by Methodist founder John Wesley, who with his brother Charles is celebrated throughout the Anglican Church on 24 May each year.

The Order of the British Empire

Instituted by King George V in 1917 initially to recognise the considerable civilian contribution to the war effort during the First World War, the Order of the British Empire was a pioneering honour, being the first five-class Order for national distribution and the first to admit women to membership. Until then no woman had been eligible for an award, although an exception was made for Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.

In 1918 the Order was separated into military and civil divisions and these awards have continued to this day. Announced twice a year, on the Queen's birthday and at New Year, these five classes honour all people in society, from lollipop ladies to sports stars; musicians to charity workers.

In increasing order of seniority, the awards are:

MBE Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
OBE Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
CBE Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
KBE/DBE Knight/Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
GBE Knight or Dame Grand Cross of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire

The association with St Paul's stems from the Cathedral's long consideration, by many, to be the Nation's Church and a place of great state occasions, including state funerals and memorial services. It therefore was a natural location to be the spiritual home of the Order of the British Empire.

The OBE Chapel in the crypt of St Paul's
On 20 May 1960, The Queen and Prince Philip came to St Paul's as the Bishop of London, Henry Campbell, dedicated the newly created Chapel of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (commonly known as the OBE Chapel) at the east end of the crypt of St Paul's.

The Order's chapel is also known as St Faith’s Chapel. The original St Faith's was a parish church attached to the old Cathedral destroyed in the Great Fire of London. During the rebuilding of St Paul's, this chapel was dedicated to St Faith close to the foundations of the former church and offered parishioners their own place of worship in the building.

Today, the OBE Chapel is one of the busiest spaces within the Cathedral. Every week, the Chapel is used for educational work, including the OBE Organ Outreach Programme, which introduces organ music to thousands of children, thanks to the generous support of the Order. One of the privileges of receiving an award within the Order is to marry (holders and children of holders) or be baptised (holders, children and grandchildren of holders) within the Chapel and these special services are held on nearly every weekend of the year.

The Queen and Prince Philip with the officials of the Order

Friday, 7 April 2017

Queen's Birthday Stamps 2017

In a couple of days the Queen of Australia will turn 91. The Queen’s Birthday 2017 stamp issue celebrates this incredible milestone. In the domestic base rate stamp, Australia Post shows the Queen greeting the crowd during a day of public engagements with Prince Philip. On this occasion, Her Majesty is visiting the Broadway Theatre, situated in the London borough of Barking and Dagenham.
This year will also mark the 70th anniversary of the marriage of Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth and His Royal Highness Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, which took place on 20th November 1947 at Westminster Abbey, London.


The international rate stamp features Her Majesty and Prince Philip, in recognition of the longevity of their relationship. The couple are riding in the Royal Procession as part of the prestigious five-day horseracing event Royal Ascot. First introduced in 1825 by King George IV, the Royal Procession signals the beginning of each day’s racing. A royal carriage procession, headed by the Queen and Prince Philip, travels up the straight mile in a circuit, transporting the Royal family to the Royal Box. In 2013, The Queen’s own horse, Estimate, won the prestigious Gold Cup race.


The stamps are available at the Australia Post shop, which promises: International delivery available

Monday, 13 March 2017

Commonwealth Day 2017



Today we in Victoria celebrate Labor Day, but all over Australia and beyond our shores fifty-two countries come together today to celebrate Commonwealth Day under the theme ‘A Peace-building Commonwealth’.

Commonwealth Day, held on the second Monday in March each year, is an opportunity for individuals, communities and organisations to promote the Commonwealth’s shared values of peace, democracy and equality, and to celebrate the association’s rich diversity.

Her Majesty's representative in Queensland, H.E. The Honourable Governor Paul de Jersey AC, published this message on his website:

This Commonwealth Day, a baton will set out from Buckingham Palace and begin a long and extraordinary journey. Over the next twelve months, the Baton will visit people living in the nations and territories of our Commonwealth family in every continent and ocean.

Carried on its way by thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds, by the time it reaches its final destination, The Queen’s Baton will have brought together through its route and symbolism, almost 2.5 billion people who share the special connection of being Commonwealth citizens.

Contained within the Baton will be a written message that will be opened and read at the Commonwealth Games in Australia next year. However, there is an even more powerful message to be seen and experienced as the Baton passes from hand to hand, from
seashore to mountaintop, through cities, towns, and villages. It is the message of a peace-building Commonwealth.

The cornerstones on which peace is founded are, quite simply, respect and understanding for one another. Working together, we build peace by defending the dignity of every individual and community.

By upholding justice and the rule of law, and by striving for societies that are fair and offer opportunities for all, we overcome division and find reconciliation, so that the benefits of progress and prosperity may be multiplied and shared.

As members of the Commonwealth family we can find much to be thankful for in the inheritances we have received from those who came before us. Through consensus and cooperation great things have been achieved.

We can find further reward and fulfilment by continuing to collaborate with others in a spirit of goodwill to build a peaceful and abundant future for all Commonwealth citizens.

Commonwealth Day Message by Her Majesty the Queen, Head of the Commonwealth

This Commonwealth Day, a baton will set out from Buckingham Palace and begin a long and extraordinary journey. Over the next twelve months, the Baton will visit people living in the nations and territories of our Commonwealth family in every continent and ocean.

Carried on its way by thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds, by the time it reaches its final destination, The Queen’s Baton will have brought together through its route and symbolism, almost 2.5 billion people who share the special connection of being Commonwealth citizens.

Contained within the Baton will be a written message that will be opened and read at the Commonwealth Games in Australia next year. However, there is an even more powerful message to be seen and experienced as the Baton passes from hand to hand, from seashore to mountaintop, through cities, towns, and villages. It is the message of a peace-building Commonwealth.

The cornerstones on which peace is founded are, quite simply, respect and understanding for one another. Working together, we build peace by defending the dignity of every individual and community.

By upholding justice and the rule of law, and by striving for societies that are fair and offer opportunities for all, we overcome division and find reconciliation, so that the benefits of progress and prosperity may be multiplied and shared.

As members of the Commonwealth family we can find much to be thankful for in the inheritances we have received from those who came before us. Through consensus and cooperation great things have been achieved.

We can find further reward and fulfilment by continuing to collaborate with others in a spirit of goodwill to build a peaceful and abundant future for all Commonwealth citizens.

Event calendar


Fly a Flag for the Commonwealth
Monday, 13 March 2017, all day
This year over 1,000 individual flag-flying ceremonies are predicted to take place on Commonwealth Day. More information
Commonwealth Day Commemoration at the Memorial Gates
Monday, 13 March 2017, 10:40 GMT
A service of remembrance and the laying of wreaths at the Memorial Gates on Constitution Hill in London.
Launch of The Queens Baton Relay
Monday, 13 March 2017, 11:30 GMT
The Queen’s Baton Relay (QBR) has been a traditional curtain raiser to the Commonwealth Games since the Cardiff 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games. More information
The Commonwealth Service: A Celebration of the Commonwealth
Monday, 13 March 2017, 15:00 GMT
The Service is the biggest multi-faith celebration in the United Kingdom and takes the form of an hour-long service at Westminster Abbey, London, featuring a mixture of testimonies, readings, hymns and musical performances. The Service is by invitation only. More information
Commonwealth Day Reception
Monday, 13 March 2017, 18:00 GMT
The Commonwealth Secretary-General hosts a reception attended by representatives of the 52 member countries of the Commonwealth at the Commonwealth Secretariat's headquarters, Marlborough House in London. The evening will commemorate the Commonwealth Theme of 'A Peace-building Commonwealth'. The Reception is by invitation only.
High Commissioners' Banquet
Tuesday, 14 March 2017, 18:30 GMT
Hosted at Guildhall, London, attendees at the dinner will include High Commissioners from the 52 Commonwealth nations, senior figures from the Commonwealth family, and key individuals from the worlds of politics, civil society, business and sport. The Banquet is by invitation only.
Annual Commonwealth Gala Performance and Presentation by the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra & Choirs at Marlborough House
Tuesday, 14 March 2016, 18:30 GMT  
The Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir brings together communities across the Commonwealth through music, transcending cultural, political, social and economic boundaries.
Commonwealth Youth Awards
Wednesday 15 March 2017, 11:00 - 13:00 GMT
The awards recognise outstanding young people under the age of 30 from Commonwealth countries whose work has significantly contributed to local, national, regional and global development. Over 300 nominations were received this year. More information

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Message from the Governor General of Canada on the Occasion of the Sapphire Jubilee of The Queen’s Accession to the Throne

The Royal Mint has commissioned a range of specially designed Sapphire Jubilee commemorative coins to mark the 65th anniversary of The Queen's accession to the throne.

On 6th February Queen Elizabeth became the first Anglosaxon monarch to mark her Sapphire Anniversary, marking 65 years on the throne. Two very different messages were published by Her Australian and Canadian Governors-General.

The Governor General of Canada His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.D., published the following message on the Occasion of the Sapphire Jubilee of The Queen’s Accession to the Throne:
On behalf of all Canadians, I am delighted to convey warm greetings to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and to all the people of the Commonwealth on the historic occasion of the Sapphire Jubilee of her accession to the throne. 
Throughout The Queen’s reign, she has inspired the world, demonstrating constant  dedication to duty and service to others. This impressive milestone, the first for any sovereign in our history, provides us with an opportunity to express our deepest gratitude for everything Her Majesty has done for the Canadian Crown.
I am honoured to add my voice to the chorus of heartfelt words of congratulations to Her Majesty The Queen from around the globe.
Et en français:
Au nom de tous les Canadiens et Canadiennes, je suis heureux de saluer chaleureusement Sa Majesté la Reine Elizabeth II et tous les citoyens du Commonwealth en cette occasion historique du Jubilé de saphir de l’accession au trône de la Reine. 
Tout au long de son règne, la Reine a inspiré le monde, accomplissant son devoir et se  mettant au service des autres avec un dévouement indéfectible. Ce jalon impressionnant,  atteint pour la première fois dans l’histoire par un souverain, nous donne l’occasion d’exprimer notre gratitude la plus profonde envers la Reine pour tout ce qu’elle a fait pour la Couronne canadienne.
Je suis honoré d’unir ma voix au concert de félicitations sincères exprimées à travers  le monde à la Reine.
The Governor-General of Australia His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd) published this on Facebook (not on his website):
Today we acknowledge Her Majesty The Queen's Sapphire Jubilee - 65 years as our Sovereign - and we send Her the nation's best wishes.
Poor Australia, could only afford a simple sentence to mark the sovereign's milestone jubilee. Really a symbol for the shabby behaviour we all are watching in Canberra at the moment.

By the way, Her Majesty's Governor of Victoria does not mention at all the Sapphire Jubilee on the website, but on 6th February had this news item on her Twitter account. 

Sunday, 5 February 2017

The Queen's Blue Sapphire Jubilee


Buckingham Palace has authorised the reissuing of this portrait taken by David Bailey to mark The Queen's Sapphire Jubilee
On 6th February Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia, reaches another milestone: She can celebrate a Blue Sapphire Jubilee for her 65 years on the throne.

Twitter announced what officially marks her anniversary as Queen: Gun Salutes on Mon 6th Feb: HMQueen's Accession Anniversary: Green Park at noon and at 1pm.

6th February is also the anniversary of the death of her father, King George VI, an event that made her monarch at age 25, therefore this will be one anniversary that won’t be marked publicly. The Queen will do some work behind the scenes as she reads documents sent to her by government departments in her historic red boxes.

To mark the occasion, the Royal Mint has cast special coins. The milestone has seen coins struck in a range of metals and denominations from £5, £10 and £500 to £1,000. The recommended retail prices for the commemorative coins range from £13 for the brilliant un-circulated £5 piece to £49,995 for the £1,000 UK gold proof kilo coin - expensive but not to be the most valuable coin produced by the Royal Mint.

Sapphire Jubilee commemorative coins have gone into production at the Royal Mint to mark the 65th anniversary of the Queen's accession to the throne.


Although she is the first British monarch to reach 65 years on the throne, the feat is not unique elsewhere.

King Louis XIV of France, who reigned for 72 years, and King Bhumipol of Thailand, who died last year after a 70-year reign, are among those who reached Platinum Jubilees. Their record was surpassed by two margraves from Baden: Margrave Wilhelm 77 years (*1593/1600 - 1677) and Margrave Karl Friedrich 73 years (*1728/1738 - 1811), however, in 1803 he assumed the title Elector and in 1806 Baden became a Grand Duchy.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Queen Elizabeth will unveil the Iraq Afghanistan Memorial


Prince Harry during his tour in Afghanistan
Her Majesty The Queen, accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh, will attend a Service of Dedication on Horse Guards Parade before formally unveiling the new Iraq Afghanistan Memorial on Victoria Embankment Gardens, London, on Thursday, 9th March.

The Iraq Afghanistan Memorial Memorial honours all UK Service personnel and civilians who took part in conflicts in the Gulf region, Iraq and Afghanistan between 1990 and 2015.

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry, The Duke of York, The Earl and Countess of Wessex, The Princess Royal and Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, The Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra will also attend the Service of Dedication, together with 2,500 invited guests.

Guests at the Service of Dedication will include current Service personnel, veterans, representatives of departments and bodies including the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the National Health Service, and representatives of various charities and aid organisations.

Following the Service of Dedication, The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh will travel to Victoria Embankment Gardens, where Her Majesty will unveil the Iraq Afghanistan Memorial in the presence of the Memorial Trustees, together with individuals who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and their families.

Members of the Royal Family, led by The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, will then attend a reception on Horse Guards Parade for those who attended the Service of Dedication.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

What would the Kaiser say?


The Breitscheidplatz in front of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church

A truck slammed into a crowded Christmas market in central Berlin on Monday night, killing at least 12 people and wounding 48, some critically.

The Scania-brand truck plowed up to 80 meters (260 feet) into the Christmas market near the iconic Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, along the Kurfürstendamm shopping mile, at around 8:30 p.m. local time as people were getting off work in the busy shopping district just days before Christmas.

Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church before WW II bombs damaged the building.

Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church at Breitscheidplatz is one of Berlin's most famous landmarks. The ruin of the old church has been converted into a war memorial.

Built between 1891-95 in memory of Kaiser Wilhelm I, the first German Emperor and King of Prussia (1861-1888), by Franz Schwechten in neo-romanesque style, it was damaged on December 23rd, 1943 and subsequently almost completely destroyed during the April 1945 air-raids.

The construction of the church was part of a Protestant church building programme initiated by Kaiser Wilhelm II and his consort Empress Auguste Viktoria. In honour of Kaiser Wilhelm II's grandfather the church was named after Kaiser Wilhelm I. The competition for the design was won by Franz Schwechten, member of the Bauakademie who had distinguished himself with the design of the Anhalter Bahnhof.

The Hohenzollern Family remained attached to the church. It is said, that Kaiser Wilhelm II took the keys to the church into exile in Doorn. When his grandson and successor Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia died, a memorial service was held in the Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche.

On 4th December 1965 Prince Louis Ferdinand's eldest daughter Princess Marie-Cecile married Duke Friedrich August of Oldenburg in the Berlin church.

No assassination can rob this prestigious place its dignity. The noble church and the family that have been associated with it have endured many moments of sadness and sorrow.