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The Queen and I

It may surprise you to know that I have spoken to the Queen.

In 1970 I became a Queen’s Guide. I worked hard to get that badge, the pinnacle of Guiding. I had to pass tests to get various badges, including cooking a 3 course meal for a family other than my own and taking my patrol of 6 girls camping for a weekend with only minimal adult supervision. I was 17!

I was presented with the badge in front of my Guiding friends and family.

Then later went to Victorian Government House and was presented with a certificate by the Governor, Rohan Delacombe.

The Queen visited Melbourne in 1970, and, as a Queen’s Guide, I was selected to be an Official Door Opener.

From memory there were about half a dozen of us, both Queen’s Guides and Scouts. For a couple of weeks before the tour we were taken by taxi to the government car park in Dudley St to have training in “how to open a door for a Royal Person”. Step, step, open, salute, keep saluting, step, close.

We were taught about the protocols of interacting with the Queen. Only speak if spoken to, then using ‘Your Majesty’, then Ma’am if the conversation continues. Well, I think that’s what I was taught.

In the front garden, before I left for my big day. I look rather excited; I must have been very nervous too. That’s my Queen’s Guide badge on my left arm.

My big day came when the Queen and Prince Phillip went to the Albert Park Sports Centre.

I was doing my best door opening and saluting when the Queen stopped and spoke to me:

“Are you a Queen’s Guide?”

“Yes your Majesty.” (Well, I hope I said that correctly.)

Then off she went.

To be honest that’s all I remember about the day. I suppose I was nervous and excited. Looking back on it it seems rather surreal.

One strong emotion I do remember was at Monday morning assembly when the head mistress called me out in front of the whole school to recognise my achievement. I was mortified! Not only didn’t I want to face all those people, I was outed as a Guide. That was a very uncool thing to be, and I tended to keep quiet about it. Again, looking back, there were probably lots of girls (it was an all girls school) who thought it was a pretty good thing to have done.

Maybe my republican values began here. I know I was amazed at the expense and organisation that went into just my little part of the event. I was also developing a social justice and knew that the money could have been used in so many other ways. Now I have a much better understanding that having an English monarch as our head of state is quite ridiculous. And that our Parliament is shutting down for 10 days is even more ridiculous.

Queen Elizabeth’s death leaves very large shoes for Charles to fill, and our world will be very different.


I respectfully acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land on which I live – the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung People of the Kulin Nation, their spirits, ancestors, elders and community members past and present. The land always was, and always will be Aboriginal land.

By anne54

Botanic artist

19 replies on “The Queen and I”

That’s a lovely story Anne. You can tell it’s the 70s from the length of your skirt! Although I think that we weather in Australia means that girls wear shorter skirts than we do in the chilly British Isles (I am making this observation based on the school uniforms in Home and Away etc).

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No way would I wear a skirt that short now! I know I am getting old when I see young women with crop tops and short skirts in Winter…..I just want to tell them to put something warm on! I am becoming my Nana😊

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That is a lovely story Anne. I am not a great monarchist bu when I look at some other places which have presidents I find I have grave doubts about that system too!

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That’s very true.
We had a referendum years ago to become a republic or not. We had a deep discussions about whether the president should be voted for separately or come from the Parliament. The referendum lost, largely because we had to vote on a model rather than the concept of being a republic.

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Loove the plaits and short skirt. I was a guide too, then I discovered horses and boys. But I used to love it. I also met the Queen, in a horse-related environment, and an Australian just said to her, ‘Hello, Queen.’ She was a pretty cool lady, I thought, although I’m not a monarchist, either.

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What a memorable experience and wonderful photos. And whatever our views on monarchy, Queen Elizabeth was a multi-generational constant… I admire that she followed through her vow and remained as queen until the end. The G.O. also met and exchanged a greeting with the Queen when his grandmother insisted he accompany her to the parade in Coffs Harbour, he knows exactly where he was on April 13, 1970!

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The image of the GO and his grandmother chatting to the Queen is a lovely one. I visualise him as a youngster with his big bushy beard!
The Queen certainly was a constant. Surprising to think that she was on the throne for my whole life. Like all of us, I wonder what the world will be like in a few years. Things are not looking good in the UK.

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I admire the Queen for her dedication, but the sacking of the Whitlam government soured the whole idea of the monarchy for me. It was a coup d’etat by a foreign power, and it still makes me burn. That said, I wish we could continue to have the political system we have now, just without a governor general. Looking at the examples of republics around the world…I don’t like any of them. It’s a conundrum. :/

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It is definitely time to have that conversation. I am not so sure about the model I would choose now. Maybe we would be better to have a president coming through the Parliament?
I also have been thinking how close we were to having Morrison represent us at the funeral! Phew!

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I have a vague recollection that the French have a President /and/ a Prime Minister, or something of the sort. The only thing I’m sure of is that the US model scares me silly.
Hah! And so does the idea of Scomo smarming his way through the funeral. Ick!

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You write such thoughtful posts, Anne. I’m glad you met Queen Elizabeth when you did, as it was special, not to mention an acknowledgment of your hard work. Reading different posts and perspectives about the Queen has been interesting this week. I spent my first six years of life in Canada, and I remember singing God Save our Gracious Queen with full-throated severance.

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