Reception to Celebrate the 91st Birthday of Her Majesty The Queen
Minister Lynham representing our Premier – I have spoken with the Premier today, she sends her apologies for not being here for this special occasion as she is hosting a reception for the Order of Australia Association at Parliament House; the Chief Justice of Australia, Susan Kiefel; our 22nd and 23rd Governors respectively, Leneen Forde and Major General Peter Arnison; former Premier, Rob Borbidge; other distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen. Kaye and I are delighted to welcome you here this evening to celebrate the 91st birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second.
Last year we joined people around the world in expressing our affection and enduring regard for our remarkable Head of State on Her Majesty’s 90th birthday.
This year, I am very pleased, with Kaye, once again, to celebrate the exceptional story of duty and dedication that began on the 21st of April, 1926, when Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born.
And I can report, having, with Kaye, been received by Her Majesty at Buckingham Palace just last month, that at 91, she indeed remains enormously spirited and dedicated in the fulfilment of her duties.
Her Majesty’s story is all the more remarkable when we consider that, for the first ten years of her life, it was not anticipated that young ‘Lillibet’, as she called herself, would one day become Queen. After all, it was her Uncle, Prince Edward, who was heir to the throne.
Few would have anticipated that Edward’s abdication, and the later death of her father at the age of just 56, would see the young Elizabeth accede to the throne and reign for – now – 65 years. And, as we celebrate today, she is now not just Queen of Australia, but indeed independently Head of State of the six constituent States which form the Commonwealth of Australia.
I am greatly honoured to represent Her Majesty here in Queensland, and to have shared that honour with no fewer than ten distinguished women and men who have preceded me as Governor during her reign – of whom two are here tonight!
Serving our State as The Queen’s representative is a privileged role, something of which I am reminded every morning as I walk down the cedar staircase to my Study.
In the Foyer, I see the portraits of Her Majesty’s grandparents, great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents; I see Sir William Dargie’s celebrated ‘wattle’ portrait of her as our young Queen; in the Dining Room, I see her magnificent Coronation portrait; and in the gardens, there is John Stuart Dowie’s marvellous life-size bronze sculpture.
I am further reminded of that long-standing and important link with the Sovereign, our Head of State, when I host Investiture Ceremonies to confer awards and honours in Her Majesty’s name, and in the day-to-day constitutional duties I perform as The Queen’s representative.
Beyond Government House, The Queen is ever-present in the life of the community.
From the coins in our pockets to the names of buildings and public spaces, Elizabeth will continue to be an inspiration and a much loved and admired symbol of peace, stability and continuity well beyond her 91st birthday.
Please join me in wishing Her Majesty a very happy birthday and in a toast to an exceptional life of dedication. Ladies and gentlemen: to Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God Queen of Australia and Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth – The Queen.