Reception to Celebrate the Official Birthday of Her Majesty The Queen
I am most honoured this evening, as the 26th Governor of Queensland, to recognize Her Majesty The Queen’s official birthday, and especially as The Queen approaches, on 9 September, her becoming our longest serving Monarch.
Kaye and I feel ourselves enormously privileged to be in this position; we embrace it with great respect and affection.
My first ten months as Governor of Queensland have left a profound impression on both of us, notably through our attendance at myriad solemn commemorations during this significant Anzac centenary year.
In relation to tonight, a particularly special memory was the audience last October with Her Majesty at Buckingham Palace.
Her Majesty expressed great affection for our people and our State, and The Queen’s lively interest in conditions in our State was most moving.
As an aside, I display tonight the signed portraits Her Majesty presented as we left, and the Palace Press Corps’ depiction of the greeting.
That experience reinforced my view that we are indeed privileged to have had this extraordinary Monarch now for more than 60 years.
There is a very special link between our Queen and her eponymously named State – and not just that we here at Government House have followed the Palace’s lead communicatively in establishing a social media presence!
In early September, Queen Elizabeth will surpass her great-great grandmother, Queen Victoria, in becoming Britain’s longest reigning sovereign – second only to the King of Thailand as the world’s longest serving monarch.
Now aged 89, Her Majesty remains the ultimate exemplar of public service and dedication to duty – a true inspiration.
The Queen and Prince Philip have often favoured us Queenslanders with their presence.
And even in Kaye’s and my short ten months in this high office, The Princess Royal and The Earl of Essex have been here at Fernberg. We understand others may visit later this year!
With lands geographically distantly separate, these are nevertheless ties which closely bind us as people one to another!
Before we toast Her Majesty, I mention that this evening’s reception carries additional significance – the return of receptions to this grand Drawing Room, now 78 years old, following the addition this year of a new porte-cochère, covered walkway and two accessible lifts.
These are the most significant renovations to Government House since the 1930s. They coincide with Fernberg’s 150th anniversary – which Kaye and I are enthused to be celebrating with our fellow Queenslanders at this coming Saturday’s Open Day.
In one of my unduly frequent visits to the kitchen today, I witnessed the production of about 2,000 lamingtons for Open Day; as you know lamingtons originated at Old Government House at the turn of the twentieth century in the time of the eighth Governor. What an extraordinary place this is. There is the segue to my thanking the House staff for their wonderful support on these occasions – overseen by Mr Darren Yeap, with the chefs led by Mr Paul Newsham and the stewards led by Mr Phillip Hale.
And back to tonight, where we honour our rightly revered Monarch.
We acknowledge her utterly selfless devotion to her people, and as part of that, her inspiring leadership and integrity, her innate decency – and then beyond even those integrally important things, Her Majesty’s absolutely captivating style.
Ladies and gentlemen, would you please join me in drinking to the health of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia… “The Queen”.