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The Queen in Australia: Six decades of memories

18 October 2011
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Fresh from her coronation the previous year, the newly-crowned Queen draws massive crowds on her first visit to an adoring nation attracted by her air of glamour, youth and poise. The country was Australia and the year was 1954. And having left her two small children behind, the tireless monarch – who was accompanied by her dashing naval officer husband Prince Phillip – set out to greet her Antipodean subjects.


Crisscrossing the vast, country, the couple travelled 2,000 miles by road and 10,000 miles by air, taking approximately 33 flights. On October 19, the royal matriarch – who is styled Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God Queen of Australia and Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth – will return for the 16th time. Her epic tours have often coincided with memorable chapters in the nation's life – from the opening of the Sydney Opera House, to the Canberra fires and the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane.


Such is her commitment that the Prime Minister Julia Gillard commented: "Visits by the Queen are etched into the collective memory of the Australian people. "Many Australians can recall Her Majesty's previous visits as landmarks in their own lives." Despite the pockets of republicanism, the younger generations also command affection.


A rock star welcome awaited Prince William when he arrived to sympathise with the victims of this year's floods. It was punctuated with typical Aussie cheekiness that involved him receiving offers of marriage, Aussie Rules Football lessons and even free haircuts.

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