Thursday 24 April 2014

Speeches at the Parliamentary Reception, Parliament House in Canberra

Prince William during his speech at the Parliamentary Reception.

Speech by HRH The Duke of Cambridge at Parliament House, Canberra, 24th April 2014

Prime Minister, Mr President, Madam Speaker, Chief Justice, Leader of the Opposition, Ministers and Members of Parliament, members of the Diplomatic Corps, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen - thank you for your truly warm welcome.

When Catherine and I arrived in Sydney last week, I said how much we had been looking forward to this visit. Drawing on my own experience, I told Catherine that it would be wonderful, and so it has been. Anticipation has become deep admiration.

There is so much to admire about Australia. Catherine and I acknowledge the timeless values of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. They have been the custodians of this ancient and majestic continent for thousands of years. The Traditional Owners' stories, and the magnificent and moving rock art at Uluru, which we saw for ourselves, are a priceless inheritance. They tell us not just about the past but provide a precious vision for the future.

Catherine and I had the privilege earlier this week of visiting Sydney's Taronga Zoo, which is committed - through conservation - to just such custodianship. And I know, too, how important Australian support has been for the global consortium, United for Wildlife, which is fighting the scourge of the illegal trade in wildlife, and poaching, something very close to my heart.

Australia has a quality of life and a level of excellence that makes it a magnet: an enormously attractive place to live, trade, invest, and indeed just visit. The arts and sciences flourish; Australian sporting success is legendary; agriculture - from the traditional to the technologically most advanced - is hugely successful. This is a country that is in the front rank internationally.

We have both seen all this for ourselves. Australia may be known as "the Lucky Country", but often the harder you work, the luckier you get. Australians make their own luck. The distinct Aussie formula that has fashioned such a dynamic society is the source of admiration and envy around the world.

What Australia has achieved goes much wider than Australia itself. The last thirty years have seen the rise of the Asia-Pacific region. In a short time, it has become an economic power house with huge consequences for the whole world order. The Asia-Pacific region is now a key actor - sometimes the key actor - in confronting many of the global challenges of the twenty first century. It is enormously important - and reassuring - that Australia is at the heart not just of its own success but of the wider regional story, too. Australia is a champion of justice and economic and political freedoms. Australia plays an invaluable role in building an open and peaceful Asia-Pacific for the benefit of all.

Over the years, Australians have fought bravely for freedom in numerous conflicts. As those who were involved pass on, succeeding generations must remember and keep vivid the sacrifice they made.

Catherine and I look forward to paying tribute to them at tomorrow's ANZAC Day commemoration; and - with my brother Harry - to taking part in next year's Gallipoli centenary.

Reluctantly, Catherine, George and I leave Australia tomorrow. Thank you for the warmth and generosity that has been shown to us during our visit. We go away with wonderful memories, and George goes away with his cuddly wombat, which he has taken to chewing so lovingly. We greatly look forward to coming back. And when we do return, it will be to marvel again at all that Australia is, and will yet become.

Thank you.

Address by the Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott to the Parliamentary Reception for Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Your Royal Highnesses, Excellencies, Parliamentary colleagues, ladies and gentlemen.

A couple of years back, Kelly Slater visited Manly in my electorate. There were over a thousand screaming fans – as you would expect when the world’s greatest surfer visited the world’s greatest beach. But as I have seen with my own eyes, Sir, Ma’am, in Manly you are bigger than Kelly Slater, perhaps by a factor of ten!

My friends, this is the 50th royal visit to Australia and it will be remembered as one of the very best.

With young children and with teenagers, sometimes in very difficult circumstances, with Indigenous people, with Australians in all our diversity who have flocked to royal events, your dedication to all your future realms, Sir, and your grace and warmth, Ma'am, have been abundantly on display.

Now, royal visits are a reminder that the best things in life are those that have stood the test of time.

Over centuries, the Crown has come to symbolise the ideals of duty and service at the heart of our culture.

People instinctively warm to those who represent the good to which we all aspire.

We saw that during your previous trip, Sir, in 2011, specifically to meet communities impacted by the Victorian bushfires and the Queensland floods.

As a Royal Air Force search and rescue pilot, you know what it's like to endure ‘drought and flooding rains’. You know what it means to serve in the armed forces.

We have seen in you, Sir – during both your visits – through your words and through your deeds, the decency and the sense of duty of your father and the compassion of your mother.

Your great-great-grandfather, the future George V, opened our first Parliament in 1901.

Your great-grandfather as Duke of York opened our first Parliament House in 1927.

Your grandmother, the Queen, opened this building in 1988.

And your father, the Prince of Wales, has been here many, many times.

Many decades, hence, when a currently unknowable Australian Prime Minister welcomes your son, King George VII to this building, that will be a sign of the stability and the continuity in the life of our nation.

Your Royal Highnesses, you have taken such obvious pleasure in this visit and that warmth has been amply reciprocated by the Australian people amongst whom you will always be most welcome.

It is not necessary to live permanently in Australia well and truly to belong here.

This visit has meant a lot to millions of Australians.

Thank you for the joy you have given us.

The Duchess of Cambridge greets members of the public on their departure from a reception hosted by the Prime Minister at Parliament House in Canberra.

Friday 18 April 2014

The Duchess of Cambridge's speech at Bear Cottage children's hospice in Manly

The Duchess was wearing a white dress by the Australian designer Zimmermann
It really is wonderful to be here today - having the chance to meet you all and to see the incredible work of Bear Cottage.

First class delivery of children's palliative care is life changing.

When families are confronted with the shattering news that their children have a life limiting condition, their world can fall apart.

It is at those times that professional support is imperative.

The Duchess during her speech at the children's hospice in Manly, Sydney.
I first saw this through East Anglia's Children's Hospices and have since been fortunate to see similar work in Malaysia, then last week at Rainbow Place in New Zealand, and now here today. William and I are strong believers in collaborative work.

The sharing of best practice is transformational for organisations.

The needs of families requiring children's palliative care across the world are varied.

Circumstances and environment can differ - but the aim of those supporting them is the same - to offer the best and most loving care possible.

I am delighted that Bear Cottage and EACH are planning to be part of a 'community of best practice'.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge unveils a painting received as a gift from patients and their families of Bear Cottage in Sydney
The haven that you have created here is inspirational, and there is so much that you can share with each other as you continue to support and nurture those in your care.

If I may, I would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has welcomed me and George so incredibly warmly on our first visit.

To be here together as a family has been very special and we will always remember it with fond and happy memories.

Thank you for inviting us here and for such a generous welcome.

The official number plate on the car used by the royal couple in Sydney.

Thursday 17 April 2014

Confused republicans

Some republicans are so confused, that they see republics, where there aren't any, see today's letter to the editor of The Age:
Loving the royals and becoming a republic are not mutually exclusive. The republic of Canada, as a member of the Commonwealth, still gets royal visits. However the Australian republic does seem some time away.

I suppose that, by then, Tony Abbott will have left us for the great monarchy in the sky.

Bronwen Murdoch, South Melbourne
Neither in Canada nor in Australia doe the republicans stand a chance to get what they want. Isn't it interesting, that nobody at The Age spotted the mistake? Or did they share the republicans' wishful thinking?

Wednesday 16 April 2014

The official welcome

Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC and Lady Lynne Cosgrove welcomed their royal guests TRH The Duke and the Duchess of Cambridge at His Excellency's Sydney residence, Admirality House, which has a splendid view overlooking the harbour and the Sydney Opera  House.

Prince George was given a giant wombat by Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC in Admiralty House.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott: "I welcome the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George to Australia."

Prince William’s speech at the Sydney Opera House

Thank you for your warm welcome.

Your Excellency, Sir Nicholas, Mr President, thank you for inviting me and Catherine this afternoon. There cannot be a more impressive place than the iconic Sydney Opera House to begin our first visit together to Australia. I know that New South Wales is a very special place, and Catherine and I are looking forward to seeing that for ourselves over the coming days.

My last visit to Australia – in 2011 – was at a sad and testing time for the nation. A cyclone followed by flooding had devastated lives and property in Queensland, and bush fires had ravaged the State of Victoria. I am sorry to return to find that, yet again, fellow Australians in north Queensland are coping with the aftermath of another destructive cyclone.

Australia has much to contend with at the moment: your contribution to the ongoing search for MH370 has earned respect in every quarter of the globe. Australia’s determined and leading role in the search is at the very edge of technological ability and human endurance.

You have also responded with great generosity in the past few days to the natural disaster afflicting the Solomon Islands, which is suffering dreadfully from floods and successive earthquakes. Australia has led the international response in a way that is testament to the strength of your partnerships with your neighbours, and the important role that Australia plays both regionally and globally.

This visit to Australia has been one that Catherine and I have been looking forward to for a long time. On my first visit here as an adult in 2010, I remember just how bowled over I was by Sydney: seeing the energy and diversity of this beautiful city, and understanding just how much Australia is the home of innovation, opportunity and possibility.

I was well prepared: the affection that my grandmother The Queen has for this nation is infectious.

Her Majesty spoke recently of how, since her first visit here sixty years ago, she has been privileged to witness Australia’s growing economy and flowering self-confidence.

For Catherine, Harry and me, born in the early 80s, we’ve never known anything else – Australia and Australians have always been for us a beacon of confidence, creativity in the arts and sporting ability.

Harry felt very honoured to be invited to the centenary Fleet Review in Sydney harbour last year; and I know how much my father enjoyed his visit here in honour of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. My mother’s deep affection for Australia – which you were so kind to reciprocate – needs no reminder.

I don’t think I could finish these brief words to you without mentioning one other family member, George, who is now busy forging his own link with Australia. Catherine and I were very grateful for the many kind messages and gifts from across the country that we received when George was born. I suspect George’s first word might be ‘bilby’ – only because ‘koala’ is harder to say. We really look forward to our time here together as a family.

Australia is an inspiring place, as this amazing Opera House shows so vividly, and I know that a truly unforgettable few days lie ahead.

Thank you.

Aussie republicans thrown back into the 70s

The arrival day of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George held goods news ready not only for the royal couple, but for all monarchists. The idea of establishing "a" republic in Australia has lost more support since the last opinion poll in February, when it was on a 20 year low, now the republicans are at a 35 year low and expected to lose more ground.

For the Fairfax media it must have been a tough decision to put this headline of the frontpage: Popular royals tip republic off radar. After another nasty comment in The Sunday Age, the Fairfax media should stop indoctrinating the readers that are left and just do what's the journalists' task and report without bias.

It is a start, that Mark Kenny wrote today
Support for an Australian republic has slumped to its lowest level in more than three decades just as royal enthusiasm reaches fever pitch over the arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Kate.

 ... more than half of all Australians now believe the switch to a republic is unnecessary with 51 per cent opposing any such move and only 42 per cent backing it. That's down from a high of 58 per cent in 1999 and represents the lowest pro-republican sentiment in 35 years.

Just 28 per cent of respondents aged between 18 and 24 years, backed the idea of an Australian head of state, whereas 60 per cent said no to the idea.

In Queensland, monarchist sympathy is highest with 58 per cent in favour of maintaining the Queen as Australia's head of state. Only 37 per cent want that to change.

There is little comfort for republicans in the "don't know" category either. Just 7 per cent said they had no opinion when asked if Australia should become a republic – the lowest undecided figure since the 1999 referendum and second lowest since 1979.
 A hearty welcome to the royal couple and happy days in Australia!

Prince William carries Prince George to Australia, while Prime Minister Tony Abbott looks over Prince William's shoulder.

Monday 14 April 2014

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall's visit to Canada

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall will visit three Canadian provinces, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Manitoba from 18th – 21st May 2014. Their Royal Highnesses will take part in events to mark important anniversaries of historical significance, including the centenary of World War One, and the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference in Prince Edward Island that led to the Confederation of Canada. Their programme will focus on Canadian achievement, commemorating the country's past and celebrating its future.

During the visit, The Prince and The Duchess will tour six communities: Halifax and Pictou County in Nova Scotia (18th and 19th May); Charlottetown, Bonshaw and Cornwall in Prince Edward Island (19th and 20th May) and Winnipeg in Manitoba (20th and 21st May).

Public events during the visit will include an official welcome to Canada and Nova Scotia at the Grand Parade in Halifax on Victoria Day on 19th May, Victoria Day Celebrations and fireworks in Charlottetown on the same day, and visits to Assiniboine Park and Manitoba Legislature on 21st May. Victoria Day is a Canadian public holiday, in honour of Queen Victoria's birthday.

Speaking about the forthcoming visit, Shelley Glover, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages said: "The 2014 Royal Tour of Their Royal Highnesses will not only highlight Canada’s achievements and our shared heritage, but will also look to the future of Canada and how we will continue together to build a country that is the envy of the world.

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall have visited Canada together on two previous occasions, in May 2012 and in November 2009.

Thursday 10 April 2014

Ignorance rules the Fairfax media group

When it comes to die-hard republicanism, nothing matches the Fairfax media. Melbourne's daily newspaper The Age managed to totally ignore the visit of TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in New Zealand. The print edition on Monday contained not a hint that the royal couple had landed in Wellington and had a stylish welcome. No tiny news item, no photo for example of the bare-bottomed member of the Defence Force's kapa haka group, which made it into practically every newspaper around the world. Well, not in Melbourne. The Age kept itself free from all that.

Die Welt, published in Berlin, put
Duchess Catherine on the frontpage

... and so did the Berliner Morgenpost
The Age's anti-royal policy dictated on Wednesday, that no photo of Prince George's first public appearance, his "royal crawl-about", should be seen by the subscribers of Melbourne "quality paper" (former slogan: "If it matters to you, it's in The Age", appropriately abandoned after sacking a good hundred of journalists in the past few years).

Prince George on top of another German newspaper.
Not even the fact that two gays father's had been invited to bring their daughter to meet Prince George did find any mentioning in The Age, otherwise a champion of the gay cause, so the paper claims.

You have to wonder how ideologically blind the editor must be ...

The Daily Mail offers its readers even a supplement with photos from New Zealand.
Royalty sells newspapers, but concerning The Age their republican ideology comes first. No wonder the circulation figures of The Age have been falling for years. It is not only the new media that have to be blamed for disastrous business figures.

On an much higher and massively significant political level was the reception of Ireland's President Michael D Higgins at Windsor Castle about which The Age has remained totally silent.

Mr and Mrs Higgins paid their respect at the Mountbatten memorial in Westminster Abbey. In 1979 Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, one of the earl's twin grandsons, Nicholas, 14, and Paul Maxwell, 15, a local employed as a boat boy, died in the explosion. The Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) had planted a bomb in the earl's fishing boat, the Shadow V, at Mullaghmore, County Sligo, in Ireland.

Tuesday 8 April 2014

Beautiful Australian Queen's Birthday Stamps

Australia Post is celebrating the 88th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II with the release of one domestic base-rate (70c) stamp and one international rate ($2.60) stamp.

"This royal milestone is being celebrated with two stamps using images of Her Majesty taken over recent years. We trust this stamp issue will be popular with collectors and followers of royal events," said Australia Post Philatelic Manager, Michael Zsolt.

In 1952, at the age of 25, Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth became Queen of Australia.

Following tradition, the official Monarch's birthday is celebrated every year in June, with the exception of Western Australia where it occurs in late September or early October. To honour the Queen's birthday in Australia an annual Trooping the Colour is held at the Royal Military College at Duntroon in the Australian Capital Territory.

The image of the Queen used on the 70 cent stamp was taken while she was viewing a parade in the West Midlands as part of her Diamond Jubilee tour of the United Kingdom in 2012. The photographer is Christopher Furlong of Getty Images.

Horse racing is one of the Queen's abiding pleasures and the photograph by Stuart Wilson used in the $2.60 cent stamp shows her at Royal Ascot in 2013.

The miniature sheet also features an image of the Queen whilst visiting Hereford Cathedral as part of her Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012. The photographer is Chris Jackson from Getty Images.

The Queen's Birthday stamps and associated products are available from 8th April 2014 at participating Australia Post retail outlets, via mail order on 1800 331 794 and online at while stocks last.

Friday 4 April 2014

Monarchist candidate in Egyptian presidential election

Hossam Shaltot, a retired aviation engineer, is running in the Egptian presidential election on 23rd/24th May. But he has no intention of becoming Egypt's next president. His aim to give the country its Monarchy back.

"I came to announce my bid for president because there are so many problems that need to be solved and I'm the only one who can solve them," he told Turkish Anadolu Agency. "Conditions in the country are going from bad to worse," he added: "Something has to be done." He calls both toppled president Mohamed Morsi and his toppler, army chief Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, who also running for president, "failures".

Shaltot said: "Al-Sisi has been Egypt's de facto ruler for the past eight months, but he's done nothing to solve the country's problems."

If elected, Hossam Shaltot plans to restore Egypt's monarchy, which, he suggested, would allow it to join the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a six-country grouping of oil-rich Gulf Monarchies plus The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the Kingdom of Morocco. This would mean Egyptian workers would have the chance to find work in the Gulf without requiring a visa.

Shaltot said the restoration of the monarchy and GCC membership would solve Egypt's acute fuel shortage by stimulating fuel aid from the Gulf.

Egypt's legitimate Monarch, King Fu'ad II, was toppled in 1953 and has been living in Europe since a military coup d'état established a dictatorship that lasted until the "Arab Spring" forced Hosni Mubarak out of power. King Fu'ad had succeeded his father on 26th July 1952 upon the abdication of His Majesty King Fārūq I, who was forced by the putsch of army officers to leave the country. His Majesty, King Fu'ad II reigned for less than a year until 18th June 1953.

Egyptian wedding in Istanbul on 30th August 2013, King Fuad II embraces his son, Crown Prince Muhammed Ali, who married Princess Noal Zaher of Afghanistan in a lavish ceremony.

In July 2013 Al Jazeera author Tanya Goudsouzian speculated about The Return of the King:
In Egyptian author Alaa Al Aswany's bestselling 2002 novel The Yacoubian Building, an ageing aristocrat declares:
"It was a different age. Cairo was like Europe. It was clean and smart and the people were well mannered and respectable and everyone knew his place exactly…"
Fewer and fewer people remember Egypt as it once was, a glittering romantic metropolis and a genuine regional hub for culture and the arts - it is an Egypt that now only lives in the collective memory of some exiles, the result of dictatorships both republican and Islamic.
Prince Osman Rifaat Ibrahim was barely two years old when his family was forced to leave his native Egypt, after the 1952 Free Officers' revolution. As members of the dynasty of Mohamed Ali, founder of modern Egypt, they had become persona non grata. His father, Prince Amr Ibrahim, was blacklisted as a potential threat to the new order. He had been a high commander of the Special Police during World War II, and enjoyed a great deal of support among certain circles. As a grandson of Mohamed Ali's eldest son, he was viewed as a contender for the throne.
Overnight, their family lost everything, as the state confiscated extensive properties and all of their personal belongings, including priceless antiques and artworks, by order of the Revolutionary Command Council. There were three palatial homes in Cairo, three buildings in coastal Alexandria, and vast swaths of agricultural land on which they grew cotton, then a highly profitable crop. With nothing left in Egypt, they went into exile, first to Italy and later to Switzerland, where Prince Osman grew up among other Egyptian aristocrats.
Today, like the rest of the world, the 63-year-old prince watches from afar as chaos unfolds in Egypt, wondering whether there will ever be a happy ending to the story that began six decades ago.
"When this latest revolution started a little over two years ago, I was hopeful that it might be the end of nearly 60 years of military dictatorship," he told Al Jazeera. "Unfortunately it was not, and where we are headed is gloomy."
Unless the Monarchy is to return in all its glory.