Princess Anne will represent the Queen at a national memorial service in Australia for the victims of the devastating bush fires in which at least 200 people were killed and over 1800 houses destroyed.
According to a report by the Press Association, Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, will attend a service to be held at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne on Sunday 22 February at 11.00 am as part of the national day of mourning.
A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said: "The Princess Royal will be attending the memorial service on Sunday representing the Queen in Melbourne. The following day she will visit areas affected by the fire."
The Queen has made a private donation to the fund-raising appeal for victims of the bushfires in Australia, Her Majesty expressing her deep concern over the bushfires which have ravaged Victoria. "I was shocked and saddened to learn of the terrible toll being exacted by the fires this weekend," The Queen said.
"I send my heartfelt condolences to the families of all those who have died and my deep sympathy to the many that have lost their homes in this disaster.
"On so dreadful an occasion as this for Australia, the firefighters and other emergency services have been making extraordinary efforts to contain the situation and tend to those who have been injured.”
Queen Elizabeth specifically asked that her renewed admiration for all that they are doing be conveyed to them.
The Princess Royal is the second child and only daughter of The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh.
Baptised Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise, the Princess was born at Clarence House, London, on 15 August 1950, when her mother was Princess Elizabeth, heir presumptive to the throne. She received the title Princess Royal from The Queen in June 1987; she was previously known as Princess Anne. Her Royal Highness is the seventh holder of the title.
According to the Victorian Council of Churches, all churches across Australia are asked to ring their bells from 11.00 – 11.02 on Sunday.
A bell will be rung between speeches at the Memorial Service. Members of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and a combined choir of 300 will take part.
The main feature will be a large wreath of greenery which will be gradually filled with posies of flowers by the participants. Music will include the national anthem, the playing of the Shofar before the one minute silence, Leonard Cohen’s “Halleluja”, “Touch” and “We are Australian”.
The official party will include the Princess Royal, the Viceroys, government and opposition leaders, and senior judiciary. There will be an Indigenous “welcome to country”. Participants will include groups of children, members of the emergency and welfare services and religious representatives.
The Governor General, the Governor, the Prime Minister and Premier will each speak for 2 minutes, and 1 minute speeches will be made by a Church leader, a community representative, and from one of the emergency response groups. Prayers will be offered.