Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Queen in Australia
Queen Elizabeth II received a warm welcome in Canberra as she embarked on her 16th visit to Australia. A touching footnote was her meeting with Margaret Cunningham, who on the Queen's first visit in 1954 had as a child presented HM with flowers, doing so again 57 years later. For the first time in history, Australia's sovereign, governor-general, and prime minister are all female, making for a colourful assembly as the three eminent women met. While one would not expect a repeat of the extraordinary outpouring of 1954, when an estimated one third of Australia's entire population turned out to see their sovereign, clearly many Australians retain strong affection for the Queen despite the efforts of certain politicians--whose republican ambitions fortunately are widely considered an increasingly distant dream. At the Floriade flower festival, a little girl outshone the Prime Minister in courtesy to her sovereign; perhaps this child should be Prime Minister since she clearly appreciates her country's constitution more than Julia Gillard does. In any case, monarchists can take comfort in the widespread perception that republicanism, so chic in the 1990s, has fizzled out.