With the Royal Wedding this week in Great Britain the newspapers and popular magazines are full of photographs and speculations on fashion, protocols, guests and the glorious spectacle of carriages, the Royal Guards and all the trimmings.
Australians have a long standing fascination with the royal family. Although there are many republicans in our midst when the royals visited Queensland in the past they have been greeted by throngs of loyal subjects.
The first royals to visit Australia, Prince George, aged 15 and his older brother Prince Albert – age 17, in 1881, came as midshipmen in training on the HMS Bacchante. They arrived at Albany, Western Australia, in May, crossed to South Australia in a passenger vessel, travelled overland to Melbourne, and from there sailed on a naval vessel to Sydney.
The State Library of Queensland has collected photographs from many of these visits with a distinct Queensland flavour. Some of the images include:
Prince George visiting Brisbane in 1901 and was photographed in his official uniform at Government House, Brisbane. One of the Prince’s main tasks in Australia was to open the newly formed Federal Parliament.
Prince Edward, the Prince of Wales, enjoyed an outback experience and stayed with the Bell family at their property Coochin Coochin. The Prince took the opportunity to visit the racetrack at Ascot and ride some race horses.
Princess Alexandra holding a koala from Lone Pine Sanctuary.
The Duke of Edinburgh and Queen Elizabeth travelled extensively in Queensland. In all, the Queen travelled 10,000 miles by air, making approximately 33 flights, 2,000 miles by road, visiting all capitals except Darwin, and 70 country towns, many by special royal trains. This extensive travel allowed some 75 per cent of the Australian population to see the Queen at least once during the trip.
The Queen is expected to make her 16th visit to Australia in October 2011.