Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

The Queen of Australia

The Queen has arrived in Australia on her latest visit to her realm.

Queen Elizabeth II is on her 16th visit to  Australia

The Queen is welcomed in Canberra

This is her first visit since 2006, but some years ago the pundits who were predicting an Australian republic, would have dismissed either visit by the reigning Queen of Australia to the country as implausible. So much for pundits. Statistics suggest that support for a republic is ebbing, with a recent Roy Morgan survey showing support for abolishing the Australian monarchy at its lowest level for two decades.

According to the poll, only 34% of Australians now support establishing a republic - the lowest level since 1991 - while 55 % want to keep the monarchy. The clear defeat of the republican cause in the 1999 referendum was striking.

The constitional basis and position of the Australian monarchy is set out here. What is needed is for that position to be consolidated. I think that in past decades the relative coolness of some Australian goverrnments has reduced the number of royal visits - presumably hoping to reduce interest thereby. No doubt a visit by The Queen and Prince Philip, and likely to be followed by one by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will help renew the sense of identity between monarchy and people.

One symbol of that is the Queen's Royal Standard of Australia, adopted in 1964, although as with others used in Commonwealth realms I wonder why The Queen does not simply fly her undifferentiated arms as Queen, as she does in the United Kingdom, and as, I assume, in the case of the various armorial standards of her realms borne at the Coronation.


The Queen's Royal Standard in Australia

Image: Wikipedia

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