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Saturday, 11 June 2022
Parade Ground, Government House, Sydney
Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC, Governor of New South Wales

Thank you, Yvonne for your warm welcome. I acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional owners of the land on which we gather and pay my respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging.

In the language of the Gadigal, I say good morning:

Bujari gamarruwa Diyn Babana Gamarada Gadigal Ngura

Today we celebrate the 96th birthday of Her Majesty in the year of Her Platinum Jubilee recognising an extraordinary 70 years of service as our Sovereign.

On the 21st of April 1926, at 2:40am, The Queen was born - not in a palace, but in a three-story townhouse owned by her grandparents at 17 Brunton Street, Mayfair.[1]  Redolent of the change that has occurred over her lifetime, that building was demolished in 1937 and replaced with offices. Today, there is a popular Chinese restaurant sharing that address and a Bentley dealership nearby!

In 1926, there was no expectation that Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary of York would ascend to the throne. But as we now know, the element of unexpected change is a constant thread in the story of our Sovereign’s long life. It is a thread intertwined with another – Her Majesty’s ability to respond to change, and its inevitable challenges and opportunities, with unerring grace and resolve.  

The Queen has not merely observed history unfolding over the decades, she has been an active part of it starting from her wartime message as a 14-year-old. 

In October 1940, at the height of the Blitz, as Britain was teetering on the brink of defeat, Elizabeth gave a message of encouragement to other children and young people in a radio broadcast on the BBC.  She said:

We know, everyone of us, that in the end all will be well; for God will care for us and give us victory and peace. And when peace comes, remember it will be for us, the children of today, to make the world of tomorrow a better and happier place.[2]

82 years later, Her Majesty continues to exude that same indomitable spirit, which was exemplified in her Queen’s Birthday Jubilee message, as she spoke of looking to the future with "confidence and enthusiasm” - a message delivered, not on BBC radio but on the Royal Family Instagram account.

Seven decades as Sovereign have seen Her Majesty carry out more than 21,000 official engagements. She has visited Australia 16 times and knows this House well, having first stayed here as part of the 1954 Royal Tour. On a warm summer’s day in February, much warmer than today, The Queen and Prince Philip sailed into the Harbour, greeted by an estimated one million people gathered on the foreshores – over half of our city’s population at the time.

In ten days of official duties in New South Wales, Her Majesty and Prince Philip attended 28 major events, including a number here at the House. The melaleuca tree you will have passed on your left as you came down the driveway this morning was planted by Her Majesty during that first visit.

Subsequent visits included the opening of the Sydney Opera House in 1973, and celebrations of Her Silver Jubilee in 1977 and Golden Jubilee in 2002.  

Her Majesty has remained unrelentingly focused on service and the support and encouragement of others.

As arduous overseas travel became difficult, Her Majesty continued to show her concern for the wellbeing of our communities here in New South Wales and other parts of Australia through regular messages of support as we have navigated drought, fires, flood and the pandemic.

In recent weeks Her Majesty wrote:

In this year of my Platinum Jubilee, it has given me pleasure to renew the promise I made in 1947, that my life will always be devoted in service.

Fittingly, platinum is renowned for its strength and enduring qualities.  It is ductile, meaning that it can adapt well to stress without failure. It is stable at high temperatures, lustrous and considered a noble metal.  One could not find a more a perfect analogy for the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.   

For today’s Ceremonial Parade we have added some history of our own with the formation of the tri-service cadet Royal Guard. Thank you, you have been magnificent.

Thank you to everyone - musicians, service personnel, distinguished guests - as we honour Her Majesty 'Elizabeth II By the Grace of God, Queen, Defender of the Faith’- Long may she reign!

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