February 6

Fifty four years of faithful service

 

The 6th of February, 2006 is the fifty fourth anniversary of the accession of The Queen, who as Princess Elizabeth was on her way to Australia and other countries as part of a Royal Tour which her father, King GeorgeVI, was too sick to undertake.

The Queen was born on 21 April 1926, and baptised Elizabeth Alexandra Mary. Her Majesty became Queen on the sudden and unexpected death of her  father, The King, on 6 February 1952. The King was greatly loved for his dedication to his roel and the welfare of his people in those terrible years of the Second World War, when at the beginning, the Commonwealth was almost alone in resisting Hitler.

Today about 128 million people live in countries of which she is Sovereign .

Apart from being Queen of Australia, Her Majesty is Queen of Antigua and Barbuda,,Queen of The Bahamas, Queen of Barbados, Queen of Belize, Queen of Canada, Queen of Grenada, Queen of Jamaica, Queen of New Zealand, Queen of Papua New Guinea, Queen of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Queen of Saint Lucia, Queen of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Queen of the Solomon Islands, Queen of Tuvalu and Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

All are separate offices, as the High Court of Australia has ruled, unanimously. There is however a common succession which may only be changed by agreement among the Realms.

Her Majesty is also Head of the Commonwealth, and in England , the Supreme Governor of the Church of England. In addition, she is the Lord of Man.

She is the second longest reigning monarch in the world, after King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great, the King of Thailand.

Her reign of over five decades has seen ten different Prime Ministers of Australia,beginning with Sir Robert Menzies, ten of the United Kingdom,beginning with Sir Winston Churchill, and numerous Prime Ministers in the other Commonwealth Realms of which she is, or was, Sovereign. There seems a universal sense of respect and appreciation among them for the discretion and the counsel she has offered to them, even those with republican tendencies.

Her long reign has given her an experience of public affairs which would be unique in the world. As Head of the Commonwealth, she exercises her functions without the advice of her ministers, and on occasions has expressed considered opinions which were her own.

Her Majesty has reigned as Queen of Australia for over one half of the life of our nation. During that time, Her Majesty has fulfilled her role impeccably. No allowance is paid for this and all her other roles, the United Kingdom providing funds for the recoupment of the costs of the fulfilling the role as Queen of that Realm. These sums are in no way a salary or allowance – these are grants merely to recoup costs incurred in fulfilling her role. Moreover they are granted in in return for the surrender to the British Government, at the beginning of the reign, of all the income of the Crown Estates, which would otherwise be the personal income of The Queen. This represents a bargain which results in a surplus to the British Government and thus to the taxpayer. Those who rail about the costs of monarchy do not know what they are talking about, an unfortunately common phenomonen.

The Queen has a strong sense of religious duty and takes her Coronation Oath seriously. Therefore , the sort of abdication seen in some other countries is considered most unlikely.

The Crown is placed and has always been placed at the very centre of our constitutional system, and this occasion allows us to record our appreciation for the service and dedication which Her Majesty has so generously given these many years, both as The Princess Elizabeth, and then as Queen of Australia and Head of the Commonwealth.

On this day, it is particularly appropriate that Australians join with millions overseas, in saying with one voice:

God Save The Queen!

Until next time,

 

David Flint


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