“I did but see her passing by”….the Menzies use of the Elizabethan poet Thomas Ford’s quote for Queen Elizabeth in 1963 was so appropriate for many hoping for an up close and personal with the Duchess of Cambridge, sadly it was left to the media to be the conduit of most of the images this ten days in the antipodes provided.
In Canberra the public was excluded from the National Arboretum, barely got a look in at Parliament House, were a little luckier at the National Portrait Gallery but could at least gaze from afar at the Australian War Memorial. To have that many eyes and lenses aimed at your every twitch is surely unnerving – and a lifelong annoyance too - and the pap pack have it down to a fine art with the staccato clacking of continuous shutter drive the distinctive chorus of happy snappers. Their space sacred, not to be impinged upon, and as territorial as a cantankerous cockerel.
The print journalists and the television presenters less frenetic and more affable. But in the confines of a corralling you make your contacts, enjoy the gossip and know that most tours are defined by the sharing of information, contacts that are mutually beneficial and one distinctive photo.
Danielle Isdale, Ten Network’s I’ve been everywhere girl was there and we decided the PM looked like he was wearing a ‘vest’. I said hello to Judy Wade from Hello magazine, eavesdropped as she was advised that a detailed description of the ‘outfit of the day’ was deemed inappropriate; well it was a navy and white twill fabric coat dress with wide lapels and collar, flared knee length skirt with front pocket tabs at the high waist line and lining that skipped up in the breeze to reveal it matched her midnight blue hat, bag and shoes. So appropriate. The hat a charming pillbox style sitting forward with two decorative folded fabric ‘leaves attached.
Once that was established, because we all want to know what she’s wearing, the rest was perfunctory performing of the rituals established as our Anzac Day commemoration with on this occasion the Duke of Cambridge – “your Royal Highness would you please join me”- joining our Governor General, His Excellency, General, The Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd) to review the march. The only real hitch in the day was a slight mistiming of the flyover of three FA18 jets, or probably and more likely the event was behind time and that ‘rehearsal’ as explained by the MC Ross Symonds caused a titter of laughter amongst the dignitaries and double duty for the pilots.
Formalities of course included wreath laying at the Stone of Remembrance, floral tributes at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, poppies placed in the Roll of Honour wall among many many others, planting a new aleppo pine propagated from the original, and now ageing Lone Pine, and a quick trip back to Guvvie House to pick up the star of the antipodes show, Prince George, for few kitchy kitchy koos from his new best friends and appropriate farewells at the airport.
They’re all sure to be passing by again…