After meetings with The Queen, these words always come into the Governor-General's mind. Our Head of State, Quentin Bryce, is also impressed by the Sovereign’s knowledge about Australia. I remember during a debate in Old Parliament House in Canberra during the 1999 referendum, a leading academic and recent convert to republicanism, Professor Craven, saying that The Queen had little interested in and little knowledge of Australia.
He said that if she came to Canberra she would be unable to find her way to the place where we were debating. I reminded him that this was unlikely. First Her Majesty’s late father, King George VI, had opened the building. And secondly, Her Majesty is superbly informed about and interested in Australia: ABC, 730 Report, 23 September, 2008 .
For long, the mission of our Royal Family has been service .
On her 21st birthday, The Queen indicated how she intended to fulfil her role in life:
“I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.”
That mission to serve has been followed by members of her family.
..Prince Harry to return..
We reported in this column ( "Prince Harry: honour, Duty and Service") on 3 March 2007 the comment of Marie Cocco who was impressed by the fact that “England sends its prince into battle.”
She contrasted this with what was happening in the great aristocratic families of the American republic.
This sense of duty in the Royal Family is no new thing. Older generations remember it clearly in the Second World War, when The King and The Queen, as well as the Royal Family, stayed with the people.
Prince Harry’s grandfather, and his father saw distinguished service. More recently, in the Falklands war, Prince Harry’s uncle, Prince Andrew, also rode, or perhaps more correctly, flew into battle.
The Argentinean media, once they were freed as a result of the United Kingdom’s refusal to accept the invasion of the Falklands, lamented that while conscripts were sent into battle, their officer class tended to stay in Buenos Aires.
According to a headline in the Melbourne newspaper the Herald Sun of 7 October 2008, the “ Warrior Prince Harry(is) to return to (the)frontline.”
According to the London Daily Mail, the Chief of the General Staff, Sir Richard Dannatt, said he very much hoped it would be possible for the Prince to serve alongside his men again 'like any other officer'.
In “Prince Harry in 'secret return to either Afghanistan or Iraq war zones'” , 6 October 2008, Rebecca English wrote that protracted negotiations had been continuing between Sir Richard's office and royal aides over the last few months.
She says that it is understood these have resulted in a definite 'yes'.
It is unlikely the General Staff will make the same mistake it did in announcing in advance the Prince’s movements, a point discussed in this column,“Prince Harry, the General Staff and the media,” 20 May 2007.
According to the Murdoch News Limited website on 7 October, 2008, Prince Harry’s older brother Prince William is “reportedly considering delaying any wedding plans with girlfriend Kate Middleton for up to seven years as he plans to commit to become a pilot with the RAF's search and rescue force.”