Tomorrow the girls and I are taking a half day off and going to see the Queen, as she visits Melbourne for what is likely to be the very last time. We hope to catch a glimpse of her in Federation Square (hopefully now clear of unoccupied Occupiers) when she does the Meet and Greet at 12:30 tomorrow.
I think it will be something special for them, which they will one day be able to tell their great-grandchildren about. “When we were very young we saw good old Queen Elizabeth on her last visit to Australia”. God knows what sort of political situation they will be living in then, but I am sure that the sixty or more years that we have just lived through will one day be known as the “Second Elizabethan Golden Age” on account of the unparalleled peace and democracy that the Commonwealth of Nations which was once the British Empire has enjoyed under her reign.
UPDATE: Well, we saw the Queen, and, as the famous citation had it, we did but see her passing by. It was a little disappointing that the retinue of security guards and other VIPs on the walk through with her surrounded her and made her difficult to see. It was also an interesting experience in crowd behaviour. We arrived fairly early, and, while not establishing front row seats, did get close to the barriers. There was a good spirit especially among the families that turned out. But as the time drew near for the Queen to pass by, suddenly things got ferocious. A number of people in their mid-twenties established their position at the fence, and refused to allow the small children in front of them so that they could see. Others just began pushing and forcing their way to the front. It reminded me more of being in Italy than in Australia! In the end, I picked up two small children behind us and held them up so they could see “the lady in pink”. I felt a little guilty that I did not do this until the Queen was almost finished passing by, but the children’s mother (herself of Zaccheus’ stature) was so thankful that she stopped me later in the street to say thank you once more. Actually, speaking of Zaccheus, I think anyone who has ever been to one of the Queen’s “passing by’s” would know how he must have felt…
Here is a picture I snapped of the occasion: