Sunday 30 October 2011

Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece on the economic problems in his home country

CNN's Max Foster interviews Crown Prince Pavlos about the economic problems in Greece.

Solving Greece's economic woes by CNN_International

Friday 28 October 2011

Why weren't you at Federation Square?

An eye witness report from Neville who gave permission for the re-print and who took the photos

The day got off to a laid back start. I had requested leave as soon as the date of the Queen's visit was announced, so I got to make the most of the big day. I went to a 6am cycle class, and the instructor, Nicholas, looked at me in surprise and said: “Why aren’t you at Federation Square?” Indeed, after the amazing turnout in Brisbane, I did consider getting an early tram into town. But when I have seen the Queen in the past, my general rule has been to get in place about three hours ahead of her arrival. So I had an hour or two up my sleeve and enjoyed some time back at home with my French Bulldog Bert, who, as I prepared to depart again, got all excited; no doubt he wanted to meet the Queen as well. His disappointment at being left behind was somewhat soothed by a nice big treat and we separated on good terms.

I got the train to Flinders Street Station, directly opposite Federation Square, arriving just after 9:00am. Already there were large numbers of people in place, and I started to scout out a good position along the red carpet. There were no spots left at the front of the barriers, so I looked for the next best thing: directly behind a short person. I was in luck and staked my claim behind a elderly lady, who also had some flowers. She was with her granddaughter, and although I never found out for sure where she was from, I did hear comments about living in Cambodia. Next to her was a tall, solid young man, also clutching flowers, who kept mentioning that he had arrived at 5:45 am (more of him later). There was a couple who came down from Bendigo last night and another family who got an early train from Ballarat.

I settled in for the long wait and enjoyed the atmosphere. Before too long a jazz band took to the stage to provide some light entertainment. They were pretty good, and even played a coupe of my favourites; “Fly me to the moon (in other words..)” and “The girl from Ipanema”. After about an hour the crowds had grown and the pressure from behind had caused a ripple on effect. I noticed that I was gradually being nudged from behind the Cambodian lady into the shadow of the tall young chap already mentioned. I was beginning to think that I had made a bad choice, but it was too late to move now. Then I noticed that there were two Constables standing behind us, taking an interest in the tall young man. A few minutes later the Constables were joined by a couple of Sergeants. Finally a Senior Sergeant appeared, pulling on his leather gloves, just like The Freak from “Prisoner” (or “Prisoner - Cell Block H” as some of you might know it).

This did not bode well for the future, so I began shoving back against the swell of the crowd to disassociate myself from the tall young man. Sure enough, Senior Sergeant reached into the crowd and tapped him on the shoulder and asked to have a word. The tall young man was not very impressed, and unfortunately, made his feelings known. A young lady next to me was so upset that she started crying (she had earlier asked him if she could squeeze in next to him, only to be scathingly told no). Obviously it is not a good idea to yell at police if you want to keep your prime position. He did not come back. His cousin, who had joined him after I arrived, asked another Constable what was going on. The Constable said: “You know what’s going on”, and then told the couple from Bendigo that it would be a good idea not to get involved. This little drama certainly helped pass the time, and after all the shuffling around I found myself back behind my Cambodian lady, with a great view of proceedings. (The tall young man's side of the story can be read here.)

As we got into the final hour of waiting, the sense of anticipation grew. Reports arrived that the Queen had arrived at the Royal Children’s Hospital. Word went around that she was wearing “shocking pink”. The plastic covering the red carpet was rolled back, and our nostrils were assaulted with the acrid smell of cheap new carpet warming in the morning sun. But it meant that the Queen was getting closer, so nobody minded. A couple of workmen made sure the carpet joins were smooth, and got cheer for their efforts. Then the Australian Federal Police arrived and started lining up all the children with flowers and gifts. There was one little girl who was the spitting image of Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden at that age, right down to the same glasses, it was quite uncanny. Finally the band stopped and an announcement was made: "The Queen had arrived." A tremendous cheer went up, flags waved, and applause broke out. The big screen then burst into colour and we were able to watch proceedings. Yes, the rumour was right; pink. The crowd cheered again.

It was 12:43 and the Queen and Duke began their slow progress towards the Prince’s Bridge tram stop. There were regular calls of “three cheers for Her Majesty the Queen”, with everyone joining in with great enthusiasm. Finally, here she was right in front of me, less than a metre away. She was focussing on all the children and trying to juggle the massive amounts of flowers, flags, cards and gifts being held up to her. I last saw the Queen up close in 2006 at the Royal Exhibition Buildings, a few hours before she opened the Melbourne Commonwealth Games. No doubt about it, she has aged, and is starting to stoop a little. But when she looked up it was with the same bright eyes, and wonderful smile. The Duke was near by, keeping an eye on the Queen, as well as chatting to the crowd on the other side. He is a remarkable man. Lady Susan Hussey was head of the chain of helpers making sure the floral tributes kept on moving.

Then it was all over, and the Queen disappeared behind the cameras and officials who were bringing up the rear. But the big screen meant we could still enjoy what was happening. It was then that I turned around and noticed just how massive the crowd was. I have seen the Queen in Melbourne three times, twice in Sydney, and once in Adelaide. But nothing has come close to this massive turn out of people. I could see down to the tram stop, and across to Flinders Street Station and Prince’s Bridge. Every available vantage point was chock-a-block jam-packed with hundreds and hundreds of happy faces. The bells at St Paul’s Cathedral then started to peel, adding to the wonderful sense of occasion. I have never seen anything like it before. It was absolutely amazing.

I then headed up to Government House, picking up some welcome refreshments, and settled under a shady tree to wait for the Queen’s departure. It was a lot quieter, with a couple of hundred people enjoying the gardens, sitting on the lawns, or cooling off under the large spreading trees. A security guard announced that the Queen was running late and would not depart until 2:40. This was good news. I was beat, and could happily have spent the rest of the afternoon under the tree. Before long the Governor of Victoria departed for the airport to be in place for the formal goodbyes. I dragged myself out from under my tree and got ready for another glimpse of the Queen. I was in the same spot where I stood in 1985 for the arrival of the Prince and Princess of Wales, the first time I saw a members of the Royal Family. The Royal Range Rover soon came into sight and a cheer went up. Just over four hours after her arrival, the Queen departed.

I made my way home, tired and very badly sun-burnt. It was only about 20 degrees, but with hardly a cloud in the sky my poor old bald head got a roasting. I’ve just watched the news and one estimation is that nearly 100,000 people lined the streets today. Let’s see if Perth can top that!

Thursday 27 October 2011

Fighting prejudices - like the ones published in The Age

Journalists do not have to know everything, but very often they write their articles as if they are the fount of knowledge. Examples for this theory can easily be traced in our beloved newspaper, The Age.

Michael Shmith loves to hate the Australian Monarchy and must have suffered a lot of pain accompanying Her Majesty and His Royal Highness on their Melbourne tour. He went to federation Square and watched the Royal couple boarding a Melbourne tram. This led Mr Shmith to claim in an article published in today's Age, Not the Rolls or Bentley, but a commoner's conveyance gives Her Majesty a royal ride:
How often does the Queen take public transport? Well, to be honest, only when she doesn't have to share it with the public. There have been the occasional train trips - Eurostar springs to mind - but the royal personage was born to the carriage and the limousine, and to have doors opened for her by people employed for just that task. A tram, therefore, must be a new experience and, for the five minutes or so it took for this specially painted conveyance to hum along St Kilda Road, possibly an enlightening one for a woman who has, after all, seen everything.
Journalists do not have to know everything, however, when it comes to our Royal Family, it is very easy to find out, if an accusation (“to be honest, only when she doesn't have to share it with the public”) can be verified or proven wrong. And in Mr. Shmith’s case he passed on his opinion which is not based on facts.

For example, in December 2009 The Daily Mail published this story: Thrifty Queen catches ordinary passenger train on her journey to Sandring-
ham for Christmas

Fellow passengers on the 10.45 First Capital Connect service to King’s Lynn couldn’t quite believe their eyes as the Queen stepped on board a first class carriage.

The Queen, 83, appeared perfectly relaxed as she chatted with her aides for the first leg of the 100 mile journey to King’s Lynn, the nearest station to Sandringham.

But after the train’s stop at Cambridge a secretary opened a briefcase and the Queen spent most of the rest of the journey opening and reading her Christmas cards.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman added:
"Members of the Royal Family, including the Queen, frequently use scheduled train services.

"We have to look at issues such as cost effectiveness and security but do try to when it is appropriate."

And even if The British newspaper is too farfetched for an Aussie journalist, The Australian ran the story as well: Queen joins commoners on royal express to Sandringham for Christmas

Mr. Shmith could also have read in The Sunday Telegraph, which said on 7th May 2011:
A royal aide said: “There is no question of the Queen or other senior members of the Royal family scaling back their official duties. But in order to be cost effective, it is likely that more scheduled train and plane services will be used.”
These train rides usually go unnoticed, which is fine, but then they escape the attention of Mr Shmith. On the other hand, when they are reported, then he and his like minded republican colleagues would claim a media stunt. Monarchists cannot win against prejudice. That will always be stronger – and gets published in The Age.
New nastiness from The Age

When it comes to nasty reports on the royal visit to Melbourne, The Age is certainly the source to check.

Of course today's editorial recalls the newspaper's republicanism that has to teach everybody its lesson. And this time it is the politicians to whom The Age addresses the demand to do something against the opinion polls' pointing to a growing number of Monarchists:
It may mean that republicans will have difficulty arousing enthusiasm for the change until her [Queen Elizabeth's] reign is over, but even that is not certain. The chief reason why support for a republic has dropped below 50 per cent in several recent polls is that Australia's political leaders are reluctant to make the case for one.

The Age certainly does not lack enthusiasm for republicanism, but they have not understood that the Australians have an understandable and deep rooted mistrust of politicians.

After this highly successful royal tour one can be certain that the Australian Monarchy will outlive the printed version of The Age.

Wednesday 26 October 2011

Melbourne gives the Queen and the Duke a royal welcome

This Wednesday Melbourne hosted Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness Prince Philip and gave them an enthusiastic welcome.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh attended a ceremony marking the official opening of the new Royal Children's Hospital, unveiling a plaque and visiting children, family and staff.

They then travelled to Federation Square in Melbourne's CBD to take in an exhibition of Indigenous art at the Ian Potter Gallery.

The square was flooded with thousands of well-wishers, who jostled for the best viewing position. Thousands lined in the streets around Flinders Street Station with no chance of seeing the Royal couple but waited patiently and in very good spirits.

The Royal couple received the adoration of the crowd and spent twenty minutes at Federation Square walking a red carpet, talking to the people and accepting gifts of flowers and little toys. One boy had written a letter for Prince Charles since he attends the same school as Prince Charles did, Geelong Grammar.

The crowd burst out in singing Australia's Royal Anthem, God save the Queen!

The Royal couple also boarded a specially designed red and white tram, which travelled along St Kilda Road to Government House. The Queen's tram will be decorated for a year and will rotate on most routes.

Royal supporters lined the route, waving Australian and British flags.

Even The Age managed a reasonably courteous article, written by the republican journalist Michael Shmith: Long may Melbourne's royal reminders reign: "Doing away with monarchy's monuments would be madness - even for a republic."

Tuesday 25 October 2011

"It's almost a coming home for the Queen
she has a huge fondness for Australia"

After the outburst of joy and enthusiasm shown by the Australian people during the first six days of Her Majesty's tour, The Daily Telegraph denied the idea that the Queen of Australia and the Duke of Edinburgh might have been on a final trip to Australia.
While some reports have suggested that this, the Queen's 16th visit to Australia during her reign, could be her last, the Palace spokesman said the tour did not have the atmosphere of a final farewell.

"It's almost a coming home for the Queen she has a huge fondness for Australia, a lot of Australians have worked in her household," she said.

"There's no sense at all of 'Thank you and goodbye'."

On Tuesday, 26th October the Queen laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

After being greeted by hundreds of well-wishers who braved the chilly temperatures and persistent rain to catch a glimpse of the royal couple, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh walked to the memorial's impressive Hall of Memories for a ceremony to remember Australia's fallen soldiers.

There, the Queen placed a wreath of poppies on the tomb. As the sovereign laid the floral tribute on a stand a single paper poppy fell to the floor and she took a few steps back and bowed her head.

The Last Post was then sounded and the official party, including General Peter Cosgrove, the chairman of the Australian War Memorial and former head of the Armed Forces, observed a minute's silence.

Sunday 23 October 2011

The Queen paid tribute to Royal Military College graduates

Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II formally hands over the Queen's Colours to Under Officer Cameron Gibbins and Major Glenn Mathews.

On 22nd October Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia, presented the Royal Military College (RMC) with new Queen's and Regimental Colours at the Presentation of Colours Parade in Canberra. The Colours, which were last presented in 1988, are the symbol of the military unit and bear the battle honours granted in recognition of gallant deeds performed by its members. RMC is a prestigious institution steeped in rich history and is the Army's premier Officer training establishment.

The Queen's speech at the presentation of new Colours

Lieutenant Colonel Hedges, Members and Staff Cadets of the Royal Military College of Australia:

I am very pleased to present these new Colours to you in this the 100th anniversary year of the Royal Military College at Duntroon. The College has held an esteemed position in the training of Australian officers for war and peace time service over the past hundred years. The dedicated and outstanding service your graduates have provided to the nation is a milestone to be celebrated.

This is the fourth time that I have presented the Royal Military College with a new Colour. On each occasion I have been most impressed with the discipline and determination of the College’s graduates, many of whom have gone on to serve their nation with distinction on operations around the world, often in difficult and dangerous circumstances. Many have given their lives in defence of their country and their values.

The presentation of Colours is a special opportunity to recognise the past achievements, to give thanks for commitment and loyalty today, and to express confidence in the future.

I entrust these Colours to you today in the hope that you will guard and honour them through your conduct and example, upholding the values of leadership, duty and loyalty that are at the very core of your military training. I am confident that you will, in turn, pass them on with pride to your successors.

Saturday 22 October 2011

Reception for The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

On Friday, 21st October 2011, at Government House, Canberra, Her Excellency the Governor-General Ms Quentin Bryce AC, as Patron, and Mr Michael Bryce AM AE, hosted a reception to launch the 50th Anniversary of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in Australia, in the presence of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh.

According to The Canberra Times, "a modest and expansive Duke of Edinburgh spoke at length at a reception at Government House in Canberra for the youth awards scheme in his name, suggesting young people in many ways had not changed much since he helped to start the initiative in the mid 1950s."

The Duke of Edinburgh with Young World Fellow Michael Palmer.

He also presented a World Fellowship pin to Queensland mining magnate Clive Palmer and to his 21-year-old son Michael. Mr Palmer has donated $6 million over ten years to the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, believed to be one of the largest single donations to a youth organisation in Australia.

The Duke of Edinburgh at Government House in Canberra.

Prince Philip said he did not like to bask in any reflected glory from having his name attached to the scheme which he helped to set up in England in the 1950s, initially to motivate boys to become involved in voluntary, self-development activities. It is now regarded as the world's leading achievement award for young people, with participants testing their mind, body and soul to get their bronze, silver and gold awards.

Friday 21 October 2011

"Your Majesty, you are one of us"

The Queen of Australia's speech at Parliament House in Canberra, 21st October 2011

Prime Minister, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Prince Philip and I are delighted to be back in Australia. I find it difficult to believe that it is already five years since our last visit. Ever since I first came here in 1954, I have watched Australia grow and develop at an extraordinary rate. This country has made dramatic progress economically, in social, scientific and industrial endeavours and, above all, in self-confidence.

The Great Hall lies at the heart of Australia’s enduring democratic institutions. It is easy enough to talk about democracy, but it must never be forgotten that it represents a compact between the Australian people to accept the wishes of the majority, while always remaining conscious, and sympathetic, to those whose voices are not always heard. It is this political freedom that leads to free expression, which encourages new development in areas as varied as the arts, sport and commercial enterprise. With this foundation, Australia has flourished and achieved excellence on the world stage. The award of the Nobel Prize in Physics to Professor Brian Schmidt earlier this month is but one example. And, in the face of a global financial crisis, Australia’s robust economic record, underpinned by the strength of its institutions, has been widely acknowledged.

In an unstable world, Australians consider themselves fortunate, however they continue to make a significant contribution to world peace-keeping. This does not come without a price, and we are all conscious of the sacrifices made by the Australian armed services in international operations. Their valour has been well recognised, in particular with the awarding of the Victoria Cross to two servicemen for outstanding bravery in Afghanistan. I also share the grief felt by those families, friends and colleagues of the 29 service personnel who have been killed during this conflict.

It has been a difficult year for this country in many ways, despite the successes.

The world witnessed the anguish of Australians as they lived through a summer of natural disasters. We saw towns battered by a cyclone; homes, businesses and families destroyed by devastating floods, and across the Tasman, in New Zealand, we saw a city utterly ruined by an earthquake. I know Australian rescue and medical teams did not hesitate to lend support to their neighbours in response to this horrific event. We were all impressed by the courage and resolution shown by those affected, in the face of crippling desolation. Prince William also saw first hand the fortitude of people during this testing time.

Next week we will be in Perth for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Conference. It will be an important occasion for governments to discuss the challenges they face and find new ways to bring about positive change.

I am sure they will draw strength and inspiration from their time here in this prosperous, energetic, and dynamic nation of Australia.


Address of the Honourable Julia Gillard, Her Majesty's Australian Prime Minister, at the Reception in Honour of Her Majesty, The Queen and His Royal Highness, Prince Philip, Canberra

On an autumn day in Cape Town 64 years ago, a remarkable address was given.

It was the speech of a young woman who knew a life of duty stretched before her.

A life she accepted with courage and with grace.

In that address, Princess Elizabeth pledged that her “whole life whether it be long or short” would be devoted to the service of the British people and the Commonwealth.

Your Majesty, You have kept that pledge with unbroken constancy of purpose.

And the life upon which you were venturing has turned out to be long, eventful and greatly productive.

So it is that we greet you on the sixteenth time you have honoured us with a visit to our shores.

Many heads of state and government are welcomed within these walls.

But in this home of Australian democracy, you are a vital constitutional part, not a guest.

Just as in this nation, you can only ever be welcomed as a beloved and respected friend.

Your Majesty is the longest-lived sovereign in British history.

And surely history’s most travelled head of state as well.

You are also the first and only reigning monarch to venture upon these shores.

Not merely to visit – but to share and understand the life of this nation.

You have witnessed our evolution from a small agricultural economy to an open, modern trading nation at home in this region and the world.

A vibrant multicultural democracy that has welcomed people from every corner of the globe.

A nation that honours its First Peoples and speaks the truth about its past.

A nation that more fully embraces the rights and aspirations of all its people, women and men alike.

And it is perhaps a sign of our progress that Your Majesty was welcomed at Canberra Airport by a female Governor-General, a female Prime Minister and a female Chief Minister.

These have been remarkable decades indeed.

My eminent predecessor once spoke of a lady passing by.

Far from passing by, you have endured.

You have endured with dignity and abiding strength of spirit.

As heir and monarch, you have walked fully two-thirds of Australia’s national journey with us.

Understanding with clarity and sympathy our growing maturity as a nation and as a people.

Visiting every corner of this Commonwealth.

And sharing great national moments like the opening of the Opera House, the Bicentenary and this very Parliament building.

Now you stand at the gate of a truly extraordinary year;

An anniversary experienced by only one other monarch in our long history: because in 14 weeks time, the people of Britain and the Commonwealth will mark your diamond jubilee.

We will celebrate that jubilee with sincere gratitude and joy.

We will honour a wise and gracious sovereign who has spent her life in the cause of duty.

And we will honour the consort who has stood so constantly

at your side, himself a true friend of this country in peace and war; an outstanding supporter of science, innovation, and the education and support of our young people; and man whose robust humour and commonsense have always resonated with the Australian character.

Your Majesty, we do not know where Australia’s path of nationhood may lead in the times to come.

We are, as you once so rightly said, “a country on the move and will go on being so”.

But we know this for a certainty: your journey of service will continue all the length of your days.

Keeping faith with the pledge made in Cape Town so many years ago.

And keeping faith with us, the people you have so long served.

And who give you, in return, our lasting affection and our very deep respect.

Address of the Honourable Tony Abbott, Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Australian Opposition at a Reception in Honour of Her Majesty, The Queen and His Royal Highness, Prince Philip, Canberra

Your Majesty, Your Royal Highness, Prime Minister, Ladies and Gentlemen.

It is indeed an honour to join the Prime Minister with her most eloquent welcome to the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh on their 16th visit to our country.

Your Majesty, while 11 Australian prime ministers and no less than 17 opposition leaders have come and gone, for 60 years you have been a presence in our national story and given the vagaries of public life, I’m confident that this will not be the final tally of the politicians that you have outlasted.

In fact, the Crown is probably the oldest continuing institution in Western civilisation, after the papacy. The Crown which we inherited in 1788 has evolved as our country has grown. Once, the Crown in Australia was personified by an Englishman representing the British government. Today, the Governor-General is always a distinguished Australian who is a representative of the people above and beyond politics.

The Crown has been a symbol of stability and continuity because it has adapted to the changing times. Australians have rejected some change because they feared that it might not be real progress; but we would welcome other change, such as the proposal to end discrimination against women in the line of succession and to allow marriage to Catholics, because it is a sign that ancient institutions need not be anachronisms.

The monarchy is an expression of Burke’s lovely concept of institutions as compacts between those who are living, those who are dead and those who are yet to be born. Previous generations, after all, weren’t wrong about everything. This generation doesn’t have a monopoly on wisdom and insight. We should keep the faith with our forbears just as our descendants should keep faith with us and just as you pledged, your Majesty, on ascending the throne.

Your own life has been an exemplar of the ideals of duty and service that make societies strong and civilisations last. When you observed, after the destruction of the Twin Towers in New York, that “grief is the price we pay for love”, you spoke not for England and not for Australia but for the world.

Although the office is bigger than any individual, the monarchy can indeed wax or wane on the character of incumbents.

To your Royal Highness, Prince Philip, may I say that you have brought humanity and irreverence to what might otherwise be a stuffy institution. When introduced to Cate Blanchett as someone who works in movies, you asked her whether she could help to fix the palace DVD. Only locals are allowed to joke about our Cate so that makes you at least an honorary Australian.

When I read, your Majesty, that this was expected to be your last Australian tour, I was reminded of an interview that Archbishop Mannix did on the occasion of his 96th birthday. At its close, the youthful reporter said that he hoped to do the same interview again next year. “I don’t see why not” said the prelate, “you look healthy enough to me”.

At the close of his best volume of memoirs, Clive James wrote: “as I type this last paragraph, it’s raining in the city of London. Below me in the street, the umbrellas are commiserating with one another. But twelve thousand miles away and ten hours from now, the yachts will be racing on Sydney Harbour under a sky of powdered sapphire on a sea of crushed diamond. The birthplace of the fortunate sends out its invisible waves of recollection. It always does and it always will until the last of us come home”.

Your Majesty, you have taken such obvious pleasure in your visits to this country and that pleasure is amply reciprocated by the Australian people amongst whom you will always be welcome. It is not necessary to live permanently in Australia well and truly to belong here. You are one of us.

Thursday 20 October 2011

The Admiral's Barge for the Queen

On their first full day in Canberra Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip climbed aboard the Admiral's Barge, the most prestigious vessel in the Royal Australian Navy's fleet, for a 35-minute tour of Lake Burley Griffin, where thousands of cheering onlookers had lined the shore in the sunshine to catch a glimpse of the royal couple.

The Royal Barge arriving at Regatta Point with Her Majesty The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh.

The Admiral's Barge brought the Queen and the Duke to the annual Floriade flower festival, which had closed its doors four days ago, but reopened for the Queen of Australia and the Duke of Edinburgh.

Members from VIP Boat Squadron of the Royal Australian Navy salute Her Majesty The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh as they disembark the Royal Barge on their way to visit Floriade.

Her Majesty The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh walk along the jetty at Regatta Point on their way to Floriade.

The southern hemisphere's biggest flower show, which boasts more than one million blooms, closed to the public on Sunday, but the unfortunate timing could not stand in the way of a royal visit.

Her Majesty The Queen receives a bouquet of flowers from Canberra school children on her way to Floriade.

In order to ensure that the beds were still blooming by the time the Queen arrived today, organisers dispatched a team of 17 gardeners to frantically prune, water and weed out any flowers that had seen better days.

Her Majesty's ship crew: 20111020 Leading Seaman Marine Technician Mathew Guy, the technical sailor onboard the Royal Barge, Leading Seaman Boatswains Mate Dave Herra, member of the gangway party.

Opposing Barry Everingham

A letter to the editor of The Age published today opposing yesterday's attack on our Royal Family:
"Barry Everingham claims ('It's time for a little stately act of our own', Comment, 19/11) that 'the respect given the Queen' may not be inherited by Prince Charles upon his assumption of the supreme royal authority. This is arguable. Impressive though Her Majesty has been in many ways, she could never have written a book as profound as Harmony, Prince Charles's detailed appeal to humanity to live in a sustainable manner.

"However, the importance of the Crown is in its role as an institution, one which offers dignity, stability and security to our Commonwealth. The quality of a particular monarch is of less significance, so long as the honour and effectiveness of the institution is maintained."

Nigel Jackson, Belgrave, Victoria

Wednesday 19 October 2011

The Monarch has landed

Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia, and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, have touched down at Fairbairn air force base in Australia's capital city Canberra shortly after 6 pm for the start of a busy 11-day.

As they disembarked into the warm early evening sunshine, a 21-gun salute was sounded and the military band of Australia's Federation Guard military played Australia's Royal Anthem, God Save the Queen.

School children welcomed their Queen with numerous flower bouquets.

The media has been commenting that, at formal occasions, the British National Anthem has been played. This is manifestly incorrect. ‘God Save the Queen’ is officially the Australian Royal Anthem. Many also refer to Her Majesty as the ‘British’ Queen. She is, by the Royal Style and Titles Act 1974 of the Australian parliament, the Queen of Australia and should be referred to as such.
Same old same old

It is really not worth mentioning, but The Age used today's arrival day of the Queen and Prince Philip to publish fiercely republican articles.

Of course they dug up the inevitable Barry Everingham "a veteran commentator on royalty" - as you would expect. He recycled his articles from previous royal occasions. No need to read that opinion piece. There's nothing new in it.

Another article was written by Glenn Patmore, "a senior lecturer in law at the Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne", who laments recent opinion polls showing that the Australians are overwhelmingly in favour of the Monarchy (55 : 34).
"Has Australia become a royalist nation? Politicians are apparently enamoured by the aura of monarchy. They are keen to be photographed with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip and the younger royals. To much fanfare, Her Majesty will be opening Melbourne's brand new children's hospital and officiating at other national events this week during what will most likely be her last visit to Australia. The tenor of the Republican debate has slowly changed too."
Poor old republicans, they will never understand "the magic of Monarchy".

It is worrying, that "a senior lecturer in law" refers to the rightly forgotten "2020 Summit":
"And the 999 members of the Labor government's 2020 summit in 2007, declared the republic as a key issue for constitutional reform."
As mentioned before, their 99.9 per cent majority on the April summit was achieved, because the so-called delegates were not delegated by anyone, but handpicked by the organisers. A democratic convention would be something completely different and would not have seen anything else but a 99.9% soviet style result for "a" republic, of which Glenn Patmore seems to be so proud of.

Tuesday 18 October 2011

The Queen bestows a rare honour on Wootton Bassett

The war in Afghanistan may be controversial, especially when one keeps in mind that the wish of the Afghan delegates of the Loya Jirga to restore the Monarchy was ignored by the Western powers, but the soldiers who fight, are injured or, sadly, die there deserve everyone's respect. Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire, UK, has gained fame as its residents stood quietly showing respect for fallen servicemen as their bodies passed through the town.

The BBC reported two days ago:
Wootton Bassett has been officially renamed with the prefix "Royal" in a ceremony in the Wiltshire town.

Thousands of people gathered for the ceremony, during which the
Princess Royal presented the Letters Patent on behalf of the Queen.

The move recognises the role the town played during the repatriation of UK military personnel killed in war.

The Princess Royal, accompanied by her husband, Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, at the commemoration event in Royal Wootton Bassett.

Speaking at the ceremony Princess Anne paid tribute to the residents and said the community had come together in a most extraordinary way.

"I am privileged to be allowed to add my thanks to those of Her Majesty the Queen and the whole country for the example you set in responding with dignity and respect to the losses that this country, operational responsibilities have forced upon us," she said.

The Princess Royal and the Mayor of Royal Wootton Bassett, Councillor Paul Heaphy, unveil the Letters Patent at the commemoration event marking the town's new 'Royal' title, Royal Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire, 16th October 2011.

Earlier the Princess was received by the Lord Lieutenant, John Bush, before touring an exhibition in the town's library and watching a parade through the town's High Street.

The decision to rename it
Royal Wootton Bassett was taken by the Queen following a petition from the prime minister.

The last town to be given royal status was Tunbridge Wells in Kent, in 1909.

The first repatriation service took place in Wootton Bassett in April 2007 when the bodies of military personnel began arriving at the nearby RAF base at Lyneham.

Since then thousands of people have turned out to pay their respects to servicemen killed in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The last cortege passed through the town in August, after which RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire became the landing site for planes returning from conflict zones.

Monday 17 October 2011

The media are getting ready for the Queen's arrival

ABC (7.30)

Film Australia Collection

Itinerary of the Queen of Australia's 16th Tour

Wednesday 19th October
PM - The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh arrive in Canberra and will be given a Ceremonial Welcome at the Airport.

Thursday 20th October
AM - The Queen will give an Audience for the Governor General.
PM - Will visit the Floriade flower show.

Friday 21st October
AM - The Queen will give an Audience for her Australian Prime Minister and an Audience for the Leader of Her Majesty's Opposition.
PM - Will attend a Reception hosted by the Prime Minister at Parliament House

The Duke of Edinburgh:
PM - The Duke of Edinburgh will attend a Duke of Edinburgh Award Reception.

Saturday 22nd October
AM - Presentation of Colours to the Royal Military College, Duntroon.

The Duke of Edinburgh
PM - Will attend a Commonwealth Study Conference reception.

Sunday 23rd October
AM - Will attend Morning Worship at St. John’s Church.
PM - Will attend a Reception and Lunch hosted by the Governor-General.

Monday 24th October
AM - Board a river craft, and travel up the Brisbane River to Southbank and after visit the Queensland Performing Arts Centre.
PM - Attend a Reception for emergency response personnel and Communities affected by recent floods.
PM - Will attend a post flood Rededication Ceremony of Rainforest and opening of Rain Bank.
PM - Will attend a Lunch with Governor of Queensland and other guests.

Tuesday 25th October
AM - Will visit the Australian War Memorial and view the Afghanistan Memorial. The Queen will lay a wreath.
Later, The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh will meet Australian Defence Force Personnel at Orientation Hall.

Wednesday 26th October
AM - Opening of the Royal Children’s Hospital.
PM - Visit to the Ian Potter Centre, National Gallery of Victoria.
PM - Walk through Federation Square and take a journey on board a Melbourne Tram.
PM - Will attend a Reception hosted by the Governor of Victoria at Government House.
PM - The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh will depart Melbourne
for Perth.

Thursday 27th October
AM - Visit to Clontarf Aboriginal College and see sporting facilities.
PM - Will attend a Garden Party at Government House.

Friday 28th October
AM - Will attend the Opening Ceremony of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
Lunch for new Heads of Government at Government House.
Evening - Will attend a banquet at the Pan Pacific Hotel.

Saturday 29th October
AM - Will visit the Perth community ‘BBQ’ event - “The Big Aussie BBQ”.
Lunchtime - The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh will depart Australia.

Sunday 16 October 2011

Looking ahead to the Queen's arrival in Australia

Julia Gillard will pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth's reign as an inspiration 'to complete the journey' of women's leadership.

She told The Sunday Age:

'When Her Majesty became Queen in 1952, women in parliamentary and ministerial office were rarities. Only one woman had ever served in federal cabinet and no woman was to hold office as a first minister until Rosemary Follett in 1989.'

Saturday 15 October 2011

Australian actor Jason Donovan: "I've always believed in the Queen as head of state"

The Queen of Australia held a reception ahead of her 11-day day tour Down Under, which begins on 19th October and will see her open a meeting of Commonwealth leaders.

The Queen meets actor, Hugh Jackman, in the White Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace before a reception for members of the Australian community living in the UK in advance of the Royal Tour to Australia, London, 13th October 2011.

According to The Daily Telegraph X-Men star Hugh Jackman was asked what reception the Queen will get when she flies to Canberra. He replied:
"They love her there, the only issue I know is she cannot make every city.

"Even the republicans - the ones in Australia who want to see Australia move on - still have great respect and love for the queen. I've never ever heard anyone say anything other.

"I did say 'have a great trip to Australia' and she said 'thank you, I'm excited about it'."
According to The Australian, Jackman expressed an admiration for the royal family which he said is representative of most Australians:
"Even the republicans still have great respect and love for the queen. I've never ever heard anyone say anything other."
Another guest at the royal reception was Australian actor Jason Donovan, who has lived in Britain for almost 20 years, said:
"I'm very proud of my Australian roots, I've always been firm about that. When you're away from home you appreciate it a bit more, that's the special connection I have.

"I have to say I've always believed in the Queen as head of state, I don't know whether there's a better system."
It will surprise no one that none of these quotes could be found in The Age's article. However, Fairfax correspondent Karen Kissane admitted:
Britons delicately inquired of Australians as to the warmth of the welcome the royal couple might receive. They were assured that the republican tide was out at the moment.
For once The Age got it right.

Friday 14 October 2011

40th Anniversary: Celebrating
2500 Years of Monarchy in Iran

Excerpt from the Iranian newsletter “In the Name of my Father”, October 2008, P.O. Box 16166, Beverly Hills, CA, 90209, USA

"On October 12th, 1971 His Imperial Majesty, Light of Aryan, King of Kings Mohammad Reza Pahlavi celebrated 2500 years of monarchy in Iran, which put Iran on limelight as a nation of power and glory. Iran was no longer subject to humiliation of Russia and England. Iran was an independent nation which was determining its own destiny, and Iran became a significant player in world affair.

"The October 12th is the day that Cyrus the Great founded Iran, and established the first ever empire which accepted the first Universal Declaration of Human Rights written by Cyrus the Great. He proclaimed that all people in dominion of Persian Empire would be protected by Cyrus the Great's Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and Universal Declaration of Human Rights had codes which were new to anyone in its own time; such as, freedom of speech, freedom of thought, absent of religious persecution and many more rights that people would enjoy in his empire.

"On October 12th, 1971 was the first day of ceremony as His Imperial Majesty, Light of Aryan, King of Kings Mohammad Reza Pahlavi with Her Imperial Majesty, Empress Farah Pahlavi paid homage to King of Kings Cyrus the Great's mausoleum at Pasarguard.

"For next two days dignitaries and head of state of other nations began to arrive at Shiraz's airport and they were greeted with honour and respect by His Imperial Majesty, King of King Mohammad Reza Pahlavi or Her Imperial Majesty, Empress Farah Pahlavi and were ushered to ancient land of Persepolis. ...

"The Imperial Iranian Armed Forces took part in this historical event by wearing ancient military custom of each period and took part in military parade and illustrated power and glory of Iran to everyone. This magnificent military parade was refreshing everyone's mind that Imperial Iranian Armed Forces had 2500 years of history with unblemished record.

"There is a legitimate question to ask that what was purpose of celebrating 2500 years of monarchy tax payers expense? The above image which is taken from Persepolis, it illustrates, people from different part of the world appeared before mighty Persian King of Kings and gave their homage to the Persian. Indeed, this celebration had same motive with its own tone and agendas as dignitaries and head of state of other nations appeared before might King of Kings Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and paid their gratitude to Him for keeping Middle East and world in peace."

Royal and vice-regal guests
1. Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia
2. King Frederik IX of Denmark and Queen Ingrid
3. King Baudouin I and Queen Fabiola of the Belgians
4. King Hussein and Princess Muna of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
5. King Olav V of Norway
6. Emir Isa ibn Salman al-Khalifah of Bahrain
7. King Constantine II and Queen Anne-Marie of the Hellenes
8. Sultan Qaboos of Oman,
9. Prince Abdula Vali Khan and Princess Bilqis Begum of Afghanistan
10. King Moshoeshoe II of Lesotho
11. Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tunku Abdul Halim of Malaysia
12. Prince Franz Josef II and Princess Georgina of Liechtenstein
13. Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace of Monaco
14. Grand Duke Jean Grand Duchess Josephine-Charlotte
15. Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands
16. Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, and Anne, The Princess Royal of the United Kingdom
17. Princess Salimah Aga Khan
18. Crown Prince Carl Gustaf of Sweden
19. Prince Juan Carlos and Princess Sofia of Spain
20. Prince Victor Emmanuel and Princess Marina Doria of Italy
21. Prince Mikasa of Japan
22. Prince Moulay Abdallah and Princess Lamia of Morocco
23. Prince Makhosini of Swaziland
24. Governor-General Roland Michener of Canada
25. Governor-General Paul Hasluck of Australia

Presidents and Prime Ministers
1. President Tito of Yugoslavia
2. President Nikolai Padgorny of the Soviet Union
3. President Franz Jonas of Austria
4. President Todor Zhikov of Bulgaria
5. President Emilio Garrastazu Medici of Brazil
6. President Urho Kekkpnen of Finland
7. President Cevdet Sunay of Turkey
8. President Pal Losonczi of Hungary
9. President Ludvik Svobofa of Czechoslovakia
10. President Yahya Khan of Pakistan
11. President Suleiman Franijieh of Lebanon
12. President Jacobus Johannes Fouche of South Africa
13. President Leopold Sedar Senghor of Senegal
14. President Moktar Ould Daddah of Mauritania
15. President Hubert Maga of Dahomey
16. President Nicolae Ceausescu of Romania
17. Chancellor Willy Brandt of West Germany
18. Prime Minister Jacques Chaban-Delmas of France
19. Prime Minister Kim- Jonq-pil of South Korea
20. Prime Minister Emilio Colombo of Italy
23. Vice President Spiro Agnew of the United States
24. Foreign Minister Rui Patricio of Portugal
25. President Rudolf Gnagi of Switzerland
26. First Lady Imelda Marcos of the Philippines

In Australia's republican weekly THE BULLETIN Colin Smith wrote on 30th January 1979:

"Despite their many mistakes it is unlikely that history will judge the Pahlavi dynasty too harshly. Both the Shah and his father, Reza Shah, attempted to drag a feudal society into the 20th century by force feeding it in 50 years a crash diet of industrialisation which Europe took 300 years to digest.

"They did not altogether fail. If Iran wins its race to become a democratic, industrialised society by the time the oil runs out at the turn of this century, it will be partly because of the ruthless vision of the Pahlavis

Today Iran is neither a democratic society not has the oil run out. The country still needs the vision of a Pahlavi: Shahanshah Reza II.

Sunday 9 October 2011

Official Medal to commemorate King Michael of Romania's 90th birthday

For the first time, since he was forced to go into exile in 1947, an official jubilee medal has been struck with the head of King Michael of Romania's (Regele Mihai I) . The present Romanian authorities made this possible to commemorate the Monarch's 90th birthday on 25th October.

The Jubilee Medal was presented to His Majesty on 3rd October at the National Bank of Romania by Mugur Isarescu, Governor of National Bank of Romania.

The Jubilee Medal was launched in collaboration with the National Bank of Romania, to stress the link between sovereignty and currency, according to Article 88 of the Constitution of 1923, and was issued in the name of King. The last two coins bearing His Majesty's image were issued in 1947, with values of 10,000, and 5 lei [before and after stabilization of the currency].

Like coins, His Majesty's Jubilee Medal on the front bears the King's profile and the reverse is the Great Arms of Romania. It is made of unvarnished gold "tombac nepatinat", and was created by Mr. Cristian Ciornei [design] and Vasile Gabor [model].

In another move to celebrate Regele Mihai's landmark birthday, the Romanian Parliament decided to invite the King Michael to attend a formal sitting on his birthday. The decision was taken with 203 votes "for", three votes "against" and 46 abstentions. The abstentions came from the Liberal-Democrats and were meant as a protest against Romanian president Traian Băsescu's insulting remarks on King Michael.

The president is embattled after his plans to reorganize Romanian territory were refused by opposition parties and an ethnic Hungarian party whose support the government needs to survive.

King Michael is one of the few surviving World War II leaders and had good relations with the Jewish community when he was King, nevertheless Traian Băsescu accused the Monarch of being responsible for the Holocaust in Romania, and called him "a Russian lackey".

Ion Caramitru: What did we achieve without monarchy?
Meanwhile famous actor Ion Caramitru believes that King Michael was the only personality capable of restoring morality in the country and speaks about the toxicity of “turncoat communists” and of the former secret police officers who got into business. In an interview with ‘Adevarul,’ the manager of the Bucharest National Theatre says he did not abandon his attitude of social militant, though he stays away from politics today. Caramitru still believes in the political principles of Christian Democracy to restore the monarchy and increase the respect for religion.

I am sad! For the last 20 years, King Michael I has been in the country… The monarchy could have become perfectly stable during all these years and we could have banished communism forever, by annulling the abdication of 1947, when the King was rudely forced to leave the country. The return to monarchy would have put an end to this fight over the first position in the state, for a president who has discretionary powers. This semi-absolute power could divert the state to other ends, while monarchy secures the first position in the states only in a symbolic manner… Monarchy was the only principle capable of restoring morality in the country. Without it, what did we do? We have the same communists, now turncoats, and the former secret police officers who got into business and obtained revolutionist’s certificates. The infamous people controlling us in the past are doing the same today. The country is dying and everything was stolen,” Ion Caramitru said.

Saturday 8 October 2011

ACM's Twelfth National Conference

This weekend of 8th and 9th October Melbourne hosted the Twelfth National Conference of the Australians for Constitutional Monarchy. This was ACM's 12th such conference since the 1999 referendum. Alone among all of the nineteen groups at the 1998 Constitutional Convention, ACM is the only one - monarchist or republican - which has held a national conference on the issue in each of the following years. None of the others comes even close to this record.

ACM's National Convener David Flint explained the Magic of Monarchy, which brings thousands of people to the social networks on the internet. The ACM website and its Facebook account attract many people looking for more information on the Australian Monarchy. (For details see: Facebook: ACM has 20,000 fans)

South Australian Senator Cory Bernardi sent a video message to the participants of ACM's 12th National Conference.

Gary Morgan, Executive Chairman of Roy Morgan Research Pty. Ltd., had good news for ACM's followers: The latest opinion polls gave the Monarchists a big lead over republicans: 55 percent of the Australians supported the Monarchy while the republicans gathered only 34 percent (see chart 1).

Even the republicans hopes for an unpopular King Charles would not give them a lead. On the question: "If Prince Charles were to be crowned King, in your opinion should Australia remain a Monarchy - or become a republic with an elected president?" 47 percent supported the Monarchy against 45 percent who would still prefer a republic (see chart 2).

Of course these opinion polls are only temporary indicators and should not lead Monarchist to the belief that they have nothing to fear for their preferred form of state. The media will continue their republicanism and The Age's editorial staff is probably already at work to write nasty opinion pieces to welcome the Queen of Australia on her arrival on 19th October. Never let the people make up their own mind. If they want a Monarchy Fairfax Media and News Ltd. must educate them and propagate what they think is right.