Presentation of the Queen’s Guide and Adult Good Service Awards
Speech by Mrs Kaye de Jersey
As Patron of Girl Guides Queensland it is my pleasure and honour to welcome you to Government House for this evening’s ceremony. I acknowledge members of the Queensland Girl Guides’ community, including State Commissioner Mrs Velia Nicholls and other senior representatives, award recipients, ladies and gentleman.
I am sure that many of you watched as Meghan Markle, now Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Sussex, arrived at the Windsor Castle quadrangle on the morning of her wedding to Prince Harry.
On such a momentous occasion the quadrangle itself would not have caught your attention, but that quadrangle has played host to many an auspicious event. It has also been the home of a Girl Guide Company!
This came about as the result of a decision in 1937 that, to be just like other girls their age, the 11-year-old Princess Elizabeth would become a Guide and her 7-year-old sister, Princess Margaret, a Brownie.
Thus commenced the 1st Buckingham Palace Guide Company, which met in a summerhouse in the palace gardens, and then in 1942 moved to Windsor, where 76 years later Princess – now Queen – Elizabeth’s grandson would marry his bride before the eyes of the world.
As you came through the Foyer on your way into the Drawing Room this evening you may have noticed a portrait of Her Majesty on the wall.
If you google ‘Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret as Girl Guides’ you will find pictures of Her Majesty as a young girl, proudly wearing her Girl Guide uniform, and practising her bandaging skills on her younger sister.
Like you, the Queen learnt many skills through guiding that were immensely useful to her in her later career.
In evidence of the Queen’s affection for Guiding, the Queen’s Guide Award, which I will present this evening, was created in 1946. It takes commitment and hard work to fulfil the requirements of this award, and I commend you on your achievement.
To the recipients of the Wattle, the Bar to Wattle, and the Flowering Gum, I offer my congratulations, and my heartfelt thanks for your service to Guiding.
It is through the efforts of yourselves and similarly-minded people that the Guiding Movement remains a relevant and vital force in the lives of girls and young women.
The Queen wrote of her time as a Guide, “While the core values remain constant, I have been delighted to watch it evolve, led by the ambitions and needs of the girls of today.”
As Patron of Girl Guides Queensland I, too, have been delighted to watch it evolve. I see standing before me the modern face of Guiding, and I know that the future of Guiding is in excellent hands.