October 20, 2020

Australians cheer Queen Elizabeth during boat trip


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CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Thousands of people cheered and waved from the banks of the Australian capital’s central lake as Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, took a motor boat to a flower show Thursday in their first public appearance of a 10-day tour of Australia.

The 85-year-old queen wore a lilac hat and coat and her 90-year-old husband a hat to protect against the late morning spring sunshine as they waved to well-wishers from the open boat beneath an almost cloudless sky. The couple, who arrived Wednesday, appeared fresh despite the 11-hour time difference from their London home.

The fans who greeted the royal couple included Elizabeth Stewart, 83, who flew from her home in Lower Hutt, New Zealand, to see the monarch for the third time. Stewart first saw the queen when she visited New Zealand in 1954, less then two years after her coronation. The queen is the monarch of 16 countries, including Australia and neighboring New Zealand.

Stewart said she disagrees with the Australian government’s position that the British monarch should be replaced as Australia’s head of state by a president who is an Australian citizen.

“The queen gives us continuity,” Stewart said. “Presidents come and go.”

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