Friday 15 December 2017

Republic of the Elites - Again

The Australian government is constituted under the Crown
News (The Australian 15-12-17) that the Australian Republic Movement is to announce the establishment of a high-level advisory panel including a number of politicians and big-businessmen comes as no surprise because the campaign for ‘an Australian head of state’ has always been all about politicians and big business controlling the top job.

The fact is, whilst the Queen is our sovereign head of state, the Governor-General acts in that role as our executive head of state. This is because our government is constituted under the Crown. Our current Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove, is above politics and acts only in the interests of the nation. Could one ever say the same about any of the potential contenders for president? Also, importantly, no one can control the Governor-General.

The most important active office in the land is that of the head of government, the prime minister. Both the viceregal office and that of the prime minister have been occupied by Australians for decades.

Politicians will always protect the political interest. Big business will always protect big business. Who in this so-called republic is ever going to protect the rest of us?

Philip Benwell
National Chair
Australian Monarchist League

What the people want and what the politicians and the business elites want differs very often - certainly in the case of an Australian republic.

Wednesday 13 December 2017

50 years ago: King Constantine fails to restore democracy in Greece

King Constantine II and Queen Anne-Marie arrived in Rome early in the morning of 14th December 1967
From the outset, the relationship between King Constantine and the colonels, who seized power in Greece with a coup d'état was an uneasy one. Constantine II was at the Tatoi Palace outside Athens when the coup occurred in the early hours of the 21st of April. The king was cut off from his advisers and was at an initial loss as to how to re-act. His Majesty made his way to the Defence Ministry where the assembled generals stood at attention and pledged allegiance to their king.

However Constantine II’s visit to the Defence Ministry demonstrated to His Majesty that operational power was with the colonels, not the generals. Constantine II had to accept that actual power lay with the coup leader Colonel George Papadopoulos and not the army chief of staff General Grigorios Spantidakis (who was ignorant of the April coup).

The King on returning to Tatoi from the Defence Ministry was faced with the agonizing choice of departing for exile or initially acquiescencing to the coup. Cut off from his political advisers Constantine II opted to stay in Greece. Following his mothers’ suggestion the Supreme Court Prosecutor Constantine Kollias was appointed the new prime minister whom the colonels grudgingly accepted.

The King decided to launch his counter-coup on 13th December 1967. Since Athens was militarily in the hands of the colonels, Constantine decided to fly to the small northern city of Kavala, where he hoped to be among troops loyal only to him. The vague plan that Constantine and his advisors had conceived was to form a unit that would invade and take control over Thessaloniki, where an alternative administration would be installed. The King hoped that international recognition and internal pressure between the two governments would force the junta to resign, leaving the field clear for him to return triumphant to Athens.

In the early morning hours of 13th December, the King boarded the royal plane, together with Queen Anna Maria, their two baby children Princess Alexia and Crown Prince Pavlos, his mother Queen Frederika, his sister, Princess Irene and Prime Minister Constantine Kollias. At first, things seemed to be going according to plan. Constantine was well received in Kavala, which was under the command of a general loyal to him. The Hellenic Air Force and Navy, both strongly royalist and not involved in the junta, immediately declared for him and mobilised. Another of Constantine's generals effectively cut all communication between Athens and northern Greece.

However, Constantine's plans were overly bureaucratic, naïvely supposing that orders from a commanding general would automatically be obeyed. Further, Constantine was obsessive about avoiding "bloodshed", even where the junta would most likely respond with violence. Instead of attempting to drum up the widest popular support, hoping for spontaneous pro-democracy risings in most towns, Constantine preferred to let his generals put together the necessary force for advancing on Thessaloniki in strict compliance with military bureaucracy. The King made no attempt to contact politicians, even local ones.

In the circumstances, middle-ranking pro-junta officers neutralised and arrested Constantine's royalist generals and took command of their units, and subsequently put together a force to advance on Kavala to arrest the King. Realising that the counter-coup had failed, Constantine fled Greece on board the royal plane, taking his family with him. They landed in Rome early in the morning of 14th December. The royal family took refuge in the Greek embassy, but Queen Anna Maria, who was pregnant again, lost her baby.

Sunday 19 November 2017

Record-breaking lifetime of service

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, will mark their platinum wedding anniversary on 20th November in a milestone no other monarch has achieved.

Buckingham Palace has released a new photo to mark the 70th Wedding Anniversary of The Queen & Prince Philip
From 1pm on Monday, the bells of Westminster Abbey will ring to mark the anniversary.

As usual it is difficult to find hints, where monarchists could gather to celebrate the royal couple.

A morning tea will be held at Mount Isa Library on Monday 20 November to celebrate the 70th wedding anniversary. Official guests from Mount Isa City Council, Army Base, Mount Isa Mines, Queensland Police Service, Fire Brigade, Queensland Ambulance, State Emergency Service are invited as well as members of the public.

In Melbourne Australians for Constitutional Monarchy and The Monarchist League of Australia (Victorian Chapter) invite to attend a Dinner to celebrate the 70th wedding anniversary. It will take place on 22nd November at The Melbourne Club.

Australia Post have just released a stamp set for the platinum wedding anniversary of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. Below is an image featuring the $1 Perth Mint coin and medallion cover which are both available from participating Post Offices, via mail order on 1800 331 794 and online at from 20 November 2017 while stocks last.

It is suggested you speak to your local Post Office to ensure they have the stamps and products available for sale to the general public.

You are invited to a
reception to honour the 70th wedding anniversary of


Where: Long Room, Parliament House, Hobart.
When: Wednesday 29th November, 6.00pm-7.00pm.

Hosted by Hon Guy Barnett MP, Liberal Member for Lyons

Whereas the anniversary falls on November 20th, this celebration is arranged to coincide with a sitting of Her Majesty’s Parliament.

RSVP by Friday 24th November to Reg Watson:
Ph. 6243 8597 / 0409 975 587 or email

“Rockingham Cottage” 7/550 East Derwent Highway
BOWEN PARK. Tasmania. 7016

Tuesday 14 November 2017

The Prince of Wales celebrates his 69th birthday

When Charles Philip Arthur George Windsor was born on 14th November 1948 the water in Trafalgar Square’s fountains was coloured blue. Since then a lot of water has flown down the river Thames, but he has steadily prepared to ascend to the throne of the United Kingdom and the other realms and territories of the Commonwealth that still enjoy the advantages of a Constitutional Monarchy.

As good as it is possible, The Prince of Wales supports Australian causes, for example the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) whose Patron Prince Charles is, bringing global attention to the plight of Australia’s threatened wildlife: "His lifelong record of supporting conservation plays a vital role in raising awareness of the need for decisive, practical action to protect Australia’s threatened wildlife.

"Australia is home to more biodiversity than any other developed nation, reflecting both the extraordinary diversity of species in Australia and the fact that a very high proportion are found nowhere else on Earth. Sadly, however, we now have the planet’s worst mammal extinction rate and nearly 2,000 surviving plants and animals are on the national threatened species list.

"As Patron, Prince Charles helps highlight and promote the globally significant efforts of AWC to halt and reverse the tide of extinctions in Australia. His Royal Highness is committed to conservation and is keen to help to preserve iconic species like the Greater Bilby for generations to come.

"Prince Charles has a long history of involvement and interest in environment, sustainability and conservation including through a range of organisations of which he is Patron and his own Charitable Foundation. In Australia, the Prince has established The Prince’s Charities Australia and is Patron of a number of charitable organisations."

The Prince’s Trust Australia partners and collaborates with highly regarded Australian organisations to enable evidence-based programs to be delivered efficiently and effectively at both a local and national level. This includes identifying or creating programs to address specific social challenges, brokering partner relationships, and providing financial support to our partnership programs.

The Prince’s Trust Australia has a number of project areas across the following categories:


The Prince’s Trust Australia established The Prince’s Lead Your Own Business (P.L.Y.O.B) program to support transitioning Australian Defence members to develop and grow their own small business. Designed to provide individualized, flexible learning support from our education provider R.M.I.T. University and tailored, comprehensive mentoring with selected partner organisations, the P.L.Y.O.B. program typically assists participants for 12 to 18 months.

The program is underpinned by a nationally accredited Certificate IV in Small Business Management and builds upon the resilience, self-discipline and commitment to excellence developed and matured with the A.D.F. The program is also supported by an Advisory Council, chaired by His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley A.C. D.S.C. (Ret’d), the Governor of New South Wales. To date, 65 A.D.F. personnel from across Australia have participated in the P.L.Y.O.B. program. The Prince’s Trust Australia welcomes applications on a rolling basis throughout the year.


P.T.A. partners with the E.O.N. Foundation as a supporter and advocate helping raise awareness of E.O.N.’s Thriving Communities Program for remote Indigenous communities and schools. Based in Western Australia, E.O.N.’s Thriving Communities Program is an early intervention, nutrition-based healthy lifestyle and disease prevention program focused on young Indigenous Australians and their families.

P.T.A. also works in partnership with Phoenix Australia – Australian Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health, leading an international consortium of mental health researchers to develop a ground-breaking evidence-based recovery program for survivors of natural and man-made disasters. Known as interPAR, this new program will allow communities, health services, and governments to access a recovery tool kit at any time, and at no cost, to reduce distress and improve the quality of life of survivors.


Guided by His Royal Highness’ leadership in environmental sustainability, P.T.A. is currently working with Greenfleet Australia and The Walt Disney Company to create a community activation program with global reach. This “Low Glow” campaign works to support the endangered Loggerhead turtle in Bundaberg, home to more than 50% of all nesting Loggerhead turtles in the South Pacific Ocean.

P.T.A. is also a founding partner of the Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef, a new platform empowering the global community to commit to working together to save one of the world’s most important natural assets and is working with The Reef Alliance recognizing exemplary efforts to raise awareness, foster knowledge-sharing, and engage local communities in sustainable natural resource management to protect and preserve the Great Barrier Reef through The Prince of Wales Environmental Leadership – Reef Sustainability Award.

Working in partnership with Defence Housing Australia and S.A. Renewal, P.T.A. has developed Australia’s first six-star green star rated residential building in Bowden, South Australia. The Princes Terrace Adelaide merges good design with sustainable building practices, attesting to its commercial viability and the benefits of mixed-use development, while paying homage to and reflecting local heritage. The Terrace is due for completion in November 2017.


Over the past 10 years, The Prince’s Trust in the U.K. has supported more than 18,000 young people through the Get Into program, working with employers across a variety of sectors, including hospitality, retail, construction and logistics.

The Get Into program supports young people to develop sector-specific skills to help them secure long-term employment. The Prince’s Trust Australia is working with Adelaide-based not-for-profit S.Y.C. to roll-out the Get Into program across the country after a highly successful pilot program in early 2017.


The Prince’s Trust Australia has partnered with the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (F.R.R.R.) on a pilot program seeking to establish a road-tested model of community-led disaster preparedness. The Disaster Resilient: Future Ready project engages current research, local communities and stakeholders to develop and test the framework, indicators, tools and assets to better prepare communities with place-based, sustainable processes.


In 2015, the British Museum and National Museum Australia (N.M.A.) presented the Encounters exhibition, a ground-breaking collection of rare Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander objects representing the living cultural traditions of Australia’s first peoples.

The Encounters Indigenous Cultural Workers Fellowship Program was created in response to the Encounters exhibition. Delivered in partnership with the N.M.A. every two years, the inaugural 2016 Fellowship enabled six Indigenous cultural workers from regional and remote communities to travel across Australia and the United Kingdom as part of an intensive three-month international fellowship to develop cultural, creative or heritage sector skills and capabilities.

The Prince's Trust Australia
Level 24, 101 Collins St
Melbourne VIC 3000

Saturday 4 November 2017

Happy 60th Birthday, Tony Abbott

The Hon. Tony (Anthony John) Abbott was born on 4th November 1957 and was the 28th Prime Minister of Australia, from 18th September 2013 to 15th September 2015. Abbott was leader of the Liberal Party of Australia from 2009 to 2015, and has been a member of parliament for Warringah since 1994.

Between 1993 and 1994, Tony Abbott served as Executive Director of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy (ACM) and fought bravely in 1999, when in a referendum the Australian people rejected a republic.

Australians for Constitutional Monarchy held its National Conference in Melbourne in October 2017 and Tony Abbott gave the keynote speech:

Sunday 30 July 2017

The Queen is not a foreign power, she is above citizenship

Following the latest attempts of Australian republicans to replace the Constitutional Monarchy with an unknown republican regime, The Australian Monarchist League today published the following media release:

Mr Bill Shorten last night launched an attack on the Queen accusing her of being a foreign power. If he truly believes that then what worth is his word when he swore to bear true and faithful allegiance to the Queen when he took his seat in the parliament?

“I, William Richard Shorten do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, Her heirs and successors according to law. SO HELP ME GOD!”

The fact is the Queen is Queen of Australia by right of the Australian Constitution. Both she, as sovereign head of state and the Governor-General, who upon appointment assumes the role of effective head of state, must accept the directions of the Australian ministers of the Crown provided those directions are in accordance with the Australian Constitution. The Queen is not a foreign power, she is the Queen and therefore is above citizenship.

Philip Benwell
National Chair
Australian Monarchist League

Also see blog entry: Her Majesty, World Citizen

Saturday 29 July 2017

"Labor vows vote on republic" - Yawn!

The key players in the Battle Royal: Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla, the future King and Queen of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull, present Prime Minister and main loser of the 1999 republic referendum, his wife Lucy, and Bill Shorten, ALP Leader of the Opposition and wanna-be Prime Minister who wants to take the Monarchy away from the Australians to replace it with some sort of a republic.

The Saturday Age's headline "Labor vows vote on republic" is hardly newsworthy. The editorial in the same paper unsurprisingly comes to Labor's aid: "Opposition leader Bill Shorten is right that Australia should expedite its inevitable transition to a republic." So far, so bad, but all this was said and written before.

What neither Bill Shorten nor The Age are telling the bored audience is the answer to the question: WHAT kind of republic do you want? The Constitutional Monarchy Australia has enjoyed since becoming an independent country in 1901 has given a frame work everybody knows - even if some people dislike it. But to give this up and wander off to unknown territory will not easily be done by the Australians. Out of 44 referenda to change the constitution, only eight were successful.

Mr. Shorten knows this, therefore he wants a plebiscite with the question: "Do you support an Australian republic with an Australian head of state?" - to be followed by a second vote after that would settle on the tricky topic of the best model. When will Mr. Shorten let us know, which model he prefers? There's no indication anywhere what kind of president he would like to have (or he would like to be?).

In this plan neither Mr. Shorten nor the Fairfax media rule in a "No!" vote in the plebiscite. This is a more than likely assumption considering that the opinion polls do not favour the republicans, despite their loud claims they would speak for the Australian people. They are nowhere near the 50 percent threshold for their cause.

That poses the question: Will they give up their useless efforts to replace our Constitutional Monarchy with "a" republic? Isn't the US example of a republic not frightening enough?  Why not donate their millions to a worthy cause instead of spending it on their media advisers and the likes?

Or to say it in the words of Taylor Gramowski in the Spectator, "Flogging a dead horse republic": The ARM and Labor need to stop flogging a dead horse, concede defeat and move on.

Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla in 2015 at Government House, Sydney.

Monday 17 July 2017

Happy 70th Birthday, Your Royal Highness

To mark HRH The Duchess of Cornwall's 70th Birthday, Clarence House has released this new portrait, taken by
HRH The Duchess of Cornwall turns 70 today and instead of celebrating her own birthday it is announced she is to take on a new patronage championing older people. In addition to some 90 charities and organisations she already represents, the Duchess will lend her experience to a helpline to combat loneliness in older age. She joins the Prince of Wales in becoming an influential voice for older people, after he last week spoke out for the forgotten would-be workers aged over 50 who struggle unnoticed to find employment.

They were photographed by Mario Testino in the morning room at Clarence House during a shoot in May, looking relaxed and happy as they smile for the camera side-by-side. The Duchess is captured for posterity in a navy blue dress coat with white embroidery by Fiona Clare, while the Prince wears a coordinating dark blue suit, shirt and tie. Testino paid tribute to the Duchess, describing her as “a kind and beautiful person with a wonderful sense of humour” after working with her again.

In November 2012 the royal couple paid a visit to The Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School in Southbank, Melbourne.

Clarence House hosted a garden reception to acknowledge those the Duchess works with, from former Royal household staff to charity leaders. A fellow party guest Dame Esther Rantzen has announced the Duchess is to be patron of her charity The Silver Line, with her 70th birthday placing her in the perfect position to help.

The Prince, too, has recently used his platform to speak up for older people, presenting awards to entrepreneurs over 50 during a visit to Wales last week. Speaking at Prime Cymru, the Prince’s initiative for “mature enterprise”, he told an audience that the difficulties faced by older workers are too often forgotten.

Though most women her age have long retired, there is no expectation in Royal circles that the Duchess will change her workload following the landmark birthday, continuing charity work in areas including children’s literacy, women’s empowerment and cancer care.

Her portfolio of charities will remain around the same size in the foreseeable future, a Royal source confirmed, with no sense of slowing down as she aids the Prince in his public duties. Both will join the wider Royal family in supporting the Queen and representing her in public engagements as the Duke of Edinburgh retires in the autumn.

Friday 23 June 2017

Monarchy: A lifelong dedication to duty

The comments in an interview given recently by Prince Harry to the American magazine Newsweek in which he stated that: “the heavy burden which comes with the throne isn’t something anyone aspired to” are being broadcast - and often misinterpreted - on Australian television and other media.

In many ways, Prince Harry is quite correct. To be monarch is an awesome burden. Not only does one have to be on call 24 hours each day, read through State papers, meet with ministers to be consulted and to advise, attend various events and functions almost every day but also, worse, the monarch and heirs are in the public spotlight continuously.

The Queen has carried on her duties for over 65 years immaculately. Even though the 24/7 news cycle occurred only more recently during her reign, Her Majesty has taken it all on board and has unflinchingly continued to serve the people.

Service and duty is today what the monarchy is all about. As Prince Harry said in his interview “Despite the challenges that come with it” the monarchy was “a force for good”.

Australia’s system of constitutional monarchy has upheld our democracy for well over a hundred years during which time so many countries became republics and then dictatorships.

Philip Benwell

National Chair

Australian Monarchist League

Tuesday 13 June 2017

King Simeon's Birthday will be a summit for the Balkan Royal Families

Their Majesties King Simeon II and Queen Margarita of the Bulgarians
The third King of the Bulgarians, since gaining independence from the Ottomans, will celebrate his 80th birthday on 16th in his home country.

His Majesty Tsar Simeon II expects members of European Royal Families at the Vrana Palace. He also invited representatives of the Bulgarian administration and collaborators of the former parliamentary group of the NMSS (National Movement Simeon II, later renamed to National Movement for Stability and Prosperity), and the ministers from his government, which he headed between 2001 and 2005, public figures, former political partners, business representatives.

King Simeon II and Princess Maria Luisa of Bulgaria
Almost the whole family of Tsar Simeon and Queen Margarita will be present for the anniversary. The sister of the King, Princess Maria Luisa of Bulgaria, has already arrived from the United States. The King's children and grandchildren will arrive a day before the jubilee . The last time they gathered in Vrana was ten years ago, when the family celebrated the 70th birthday of Tsar Simeon II. Missing will be Prince Tirso - Prince Kubrat and Princess Karla's son, who will sit in exams when his grandfather turns 80. On the same day, their son Prince Lucas, who is a medical student, has an important test and will miss the family celebrations.

The Bulgarian Prime Minister and the US president
In January this year, His Majesty sent letters to the royal families in Europe, informing them that he had to limit the guest list for his birthday party. However, he invited he heads and heirs of the royal families in the Balkans. This is also due to the fact that the possible presence of royal couples of active monarchies would involve Bulgarian state bodies and require tightened security measures at the state level. Due to historic misfortunes the King's birthday reception has to be private. Unlike in Bulgaria's neighboring countries, where the royal families work together with the higher state institutions in such cases, and could expect police protection there is no such practice in today's Bulgaria.

Among the guests from abroad will be Crown Princess Margareta, Custodian of the Romanian Crown, and Prince Radu of Romania, Crown Prince Alexander (II) of Serbia and Princess Katharina of Serbia, Prince Nikola of Montenegro, Crown Prince Leka II of the Albanians with his wife Princess Elijah, and Prince Osman Salahhdin Osmanoglu - a direct descendant of the Turkish sultans Murad V and Mehmed V.

From Spain, Queen Sofia and her sister Princess Irine of Greece and Denmark will take part. King Juan Carlos, who will also turn 80 years old in seven months, will not be able to attend. The Austrian Archduchess Elena will also join the celebrations the anniversary. Also expected is Prince Andreas of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, who is the dean of the extended Saxe-Coburg and Gotha family. He will fly in with a special plane directly from the German city of Coburg.

Among the guests will be Prince Tusun of Egypt, who was a classmate of Tsar Simeon II in the famous Victoria College in Alexandria. Prince Karel Schwarzenberg, who was foreign minister of the Czech Republic, will be absent.. He is the peer of the King and his close friend. Unfortunately, he will not be able to attend, due to the fact that on 16th June, national celebrations commence for the 400th anniversary of the founding of the Schwarzenberg dynasty in Bohemia. Their Majesties, King Harald V and Queen Sonia of Norway, who have visited all provinces in the country for their 80th anniversary earlier in 2017, have already sent their excuses.

Their Majesties King Simeon II and King Juan Carlos I
On 16th June, a church service of Thanksgiving will take place at the "St. Alexander Nevski" cathedral, headed by His Holiness Neophyte, the Patriarch of Bulgaria and the Highly Reputed Metropolitans of the Holy Synod.

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.


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.