Australia goes mad for the monarch

Australia goes mad for the monarch

A fan tries to get a picture of Queen Elizabeth on a mobile phone at Parliament House.

When Queen Elizabeth arrived at St John’s Anglican Church in Canberra this morning the crowd erupted into cheers of ‘God save the queen’.

In a country populated by people who usually only scream chants if they contain the words ‘Aussie’ and ‘Oi’ this behaviour was remarkable.

But from the moment the Elizabeth and Prince Philip arrived in Australia last Wednesday, the country has been monarch mad.

In pictures: Queen Elizabeth’s visit to Australia

The airport was packed with screaming well-wishers, the shores of Lake Burley Griffin were crammed with flag-toting followers and giddy fans flocked to Floriade from as far away Adelaide and Cairns.

The excitement reached fever pitch on Friday evening when her majesty’s presence at an official reception at Parliament House created scenes more readily associated with rock concerts than royal visits.

As the queen tottered across the ballroom she was practically mobbed by the crowd of distinguished guests, with those out of curtseying distance thrusting their mobile phones into the air desperately trying to capture Her Royal Highness in a photo.

These scenes suggest the queen’s visit has been an overwhelming success — despite years of rumblings about Australia becoming a republic, the monarch is more popular than ever.

But while Australians have been overjoyed with the visit, the British media has been less than thrilled, particularly with the conduct of Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

The papers were disgusted with Gillard’s “refusal” to curtsey upon meeting the queen, not to mention the fact that she wasn’t wearing a hat when she did it.

The Daily Mail published a scathing article on the topic under the headline “A hatless Julia Gillard failed to curtsey for the queen”.

The newspaper was even more outraged two days later when Julia bowed again instead of curtseying, writing, “The pm STILL refuses to curtsey for the queen!”

Gillard also came under fire from the Daily Mirror, which was horrified by her “refusal” to sing the British national anthem at the official Parliament House reception, despite loudly singing the Australian one.

“Australian PM’s new snub against British national anthem during queen’s visit,” the headline read.

In pictures: Previous royal visits to Australia

Gillard aside, the British press seem pleased with how the tour is progressing and gleefully note how well their head-of-state is received by her antipodean subjects.

The queen and Prince Philip will visit Brisbane tomorrow, and will tour Melbourne and Perth before returning to England on Saturday.

Your say: Why do you think Australia has given such a warm welcome to the queen?

Video: Hundreds flock to see the queen

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