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Deja vu Down Under 57 years on

20 OCTOBER 2011

The Queen touches down on Australian soil in pictures separated by 57 years.

What is similar about the two images is that the enthusiastic subject giving her a wonderful welcome is the same.

In 1954, when Margaret Cunningham was six she was chosen to present the newly-crowned monarch, then aged 27, with a bouquet of native flowers.

 

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On Wednesday, now 64, she offered the much-loved royal a posy again.

"I said it was lovely to see her again after all these years," she said.

"She looked at me with those same blue eyes from all those years ago. They never change, a steady warm gaze, honest and sincere.

 

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On the first day of her 11-day tour, the sovereign visited the Floriade Flower show in Canberra.

It had closed to the public on Sunday, but reopened specially for the VIP guest.

Head gardener Andrew Forster described the frantic efforts to keep the displays looking fit for a Queen.

"It is looking fabulous, our team of expert gardeners have cleaned it up to make it look beautiful and present it how a Queen would like to see it."

As well as the deadheading or removal of flowers past their best, a new gravel path was laid.

Meanwhile, Commonwealth Park, which hosts the show, was closed to the public until after the royal visit.

 

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Earlier, the Queen met with the Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, before climbing aboard the Admiral's Barge, the most prestigious vessel in the Royal Australian Navy's fleet.

Along with Prince Philip, she toured Lake Burley Griffin, where thousands of cheering onlookers had lined the shore to catch a glimpse of her.

More on the Queen's 16th tour to Australia

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