Senate debates

Friday, 23 September 2022

Death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth Ii and Accession of His Majesty King Charles Iii


11:49 am

Photo of Hollie HughesHollie Hughes (NSW, Liberal Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Climate Change and Energy) Share this | Hansard source

As the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said at Queen Elizabeth's funeral: 'Christian hope means certain expectation of something not yet seen.' We can all share the Queen's hope, which inspired her servant leadership: service in life, hope in death. All who follow the Queen's example and inspiration of trust and faith in God can, with her, say, 'We will meet again', the last words drawn from the classic Vera Lynn song. And meet again they shall. The original fab four, if you will—the Queen's father, George VI; her mother, the Queen Mother; and sister, Princess Margaret—a family united by an unexpected abdication, have been reunited, along with a husband and partner who has waited 17 months to be joined by his wife. The Duke of Edinburgh has now been joined by his wife of 74 years in the King George VI Memorial Chapel.

On Monday this week we saw world leaders gather from every political and economic persuasion, from those who fervently believe in the monarchy to those who advocate for its abolition; they all took their seats to pay their respects to this remarkable leader, remarkable sovereign and remarkable woman. Even before becoming Queen during World War II, she and her sister, Princess Margaret, were broadcast on the BBC's Children's Hour to offer words of encouragement to children separated from their families during the war, just as they had been. Princess Elizabeth became the first woman in the royal family to become an active member of the British Armed Forces driving and servicing lorries.

Becoming Queen at just 25, Her Majesty undertook 16 royal tours of Australia. Queen Elizabeth travelled far and wide, visiting 117 different countries throughout her reign, including every Commonwealth country as well as many more, carrying out 290 state visits since her ascension to the throne in 1952. Not only did Queen Elizabeth live a rich life serving our country and the Commonwealth; she was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. All will miss her dearly; we all will. Her son, now King Charles III, spent what he calls the happiest year of his education at Timbertop in Geelong. So I guess we know who he's likely to be supporting in tomorrow's AFL grand final. I especially look forward to the new Prince and Princess of Wales visiting Australia in the near future, and I personally also hope that they do bring Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis with them.

At times in all families there are ups and downs and challenges. Yet, regardless of those moments—some of those we've now learned greatly upset the Queen in her last few months—she always maintained grace, dignity and, above all else, a sense of humour. We, of course, cannot forget Her Majesty jumping from a helicopter with James Bond for the Olympics or pulling a marmalade sandwich from her handbag whilst having tea with Paddington Bear for her Platinum Jubilee, which was my favourite, until I heard the story from Richard Griffiths, one of her security guards. When the two of them were out walking near Balmoral, they came across two Americans on a walking holiday. As the Queen wanted, they started up a conversation. However, these Americans did not recognise the Queen. And as they started chatting, the Americans asked the Queen if she was local, to which she replied: 'No, I live in London, but I have a holiday home here. I've been coming to the holiday home since I was a little girl, well over 80 years.' In awe of this, the American said, 'Wow, if you've been coming here this long, you must have met the Queen.' To this, the Queen, quick as a whip, replied, 'No, but the Queen regularly briefs Dick here.' And turning to Richard, they asked him, 'What's the Queen like?' Understanding her humour well, he responded, 'Well, she can be quite cantankerous, but she has a wonderful sense of humour.' As quick as could be imagined, the Queen had the Americans' camera in her hands, and they had their arms around Richard to have a photo taken. They did manage to get a photo taken with the Queen; however, they were still unaware of who they'd had their photo taken with. As they said their farewells and walked away, the Queen turned to Richard and remarked, 'I would so like to be there when they show their friends these photos, and I do hope someone finally recognises me and points out who I am.' There is so much more to remember, if not, at least, all of her hats and handbags. She truly was the master of block outfits and not afraid of colour. But ultimately it cannot be said better than, in the words of Paddington Bear, 'Thank you, Ma'am, for everything.' Long live the King.


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