I joined the Brisbane throngs today to go and see the Queen at Southbank.
And I have to say it was worth it and I rather think the Queen might have thought so too.
Brisbane turned on its best spring weather for the royal visit – warm, vibrant sunshine with the bougainvillea trees and jacaranda in full bloom.
And with a sea of Australian flags, and the occasional British one, it was a real riot of colour.
Who would not love arriving in Brisbane like that? Pulling in on a luxury cruiser and seeing what has to be one of the world’s best inner city parklands, replete with beach and fantastic gardens, with a waiting crowd to cheer you on.
Of course part of the Queen’s arrival by river was for her to get some appreciation of the effect the flood had on the city earlier in the year.
While that was months ago now, and the city has been largely cleaned up, there are still various services and CityCat (ferry) terminals that are not functioning and many residents in the south east corner that are still affected – some of my neighbours put up a for sale sign on their house just last week (a place that had no insurance payout despite being insured for flood).
In any case it was wonderful to see people of so many different racial backgrounds – many waving the Australian flag but some obviously visiting the city and wanting to see royalty – representative perhaps of a global interest in the family that was particularly apparent when William and Kate wed earlier in the year.
It was easy to pick out Maori, Papua New Guinean, Malaysian, Chinese, various Europeans, Indian and Sri Lankan people amongst the crowds.
And all of us teetered like excited school girls when the Queen’s boat pulled up at the Southbank docks, Premier Anna Bligh resplendent in red accompanying her and Prince Phillip waving amiably to the crowd.
A number of people in the crowd fainted from too much heat, excitement or both – paramedics rushed around in Ambulances ferrying them to help. It was activity on all fronts for everyone.
Little girls in tiaras, women in Georgian gowns and men dressed as Buckingham Palace guards helped entertain the rest of us when we weren’t able to get a glimpse of the Queen.
With some thousands turning up to see the Queen it certainly seems unlikely anyone will be voting for a Republic anytime soon; although on that score I guess time will still be the ultimate decider.