The Sunday Mail (Queensland)
Royal blue stunned the world PHILIP LOVED QUEENSLAND
IT WAS the royal blue that shocked Australia and the world. The then 27-year-old Queen and her dashing Prince were on their maiden tour of the Antipodes, eight months after her coronation in 1953.
They had wed in 1947 and, like any married couple, arguments presumably happened. Never in public though and certainly not involving the hurling of objects at one another.
So the right royal barney that erupted between the pair during the 1954 royal visit left witnesses gobsmacked.
The Queen and Prince Philip were staying at a villa in Victoria Yarra Ranges when the spat happened.
Stunned camera crews were transfixed as the Prince charged out of the villa, followed closely by his visibly enraged wife who was hurling abuse as she chased him.
Amid a volley of vitriol, the Queen then tossed a tennis racket and tennis shoes at her fleeing husband.
The young monarch then reportedly “dragged” the Duke of Edinburgh back into the villa and the door was slammed shut.
Then royal press secretary Richard Colville approached the film crew and footage of the incident was quickly exposed and handed over.
Her Royal Highness, having composed herself, then reappeared to issue an apology to the camera crew.
“I’m sorry for that little interlude but, as you know, it happens in every marriage. Now, what would you like me to do?” she said.
It was a rare display of friction for the royal couple, who maintained a united front during their almost 75 years of marriage.
The dramatic tiff was immortalised in the popular Netflix series The Crown, starring Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth and Matt Smith as Prince Philip.
He has been politically incorrect, occasionally offensive and endlessly entertaining and he has, more than any other British Royal, graced Queensland with his presence on numerous occasions over the past 70 years.
The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, called children “monkeys” as they gazed at him through a mesh wire fence at Mackay Airport in 1970 and, in 2002, and put a question to Aboriginal leader William Brin: “Do you still throw spears at each other?”
But Queenslanders will
MICHAEL MADIGAN probably retain an affectionate memory of the Duke who, as both Queen’s consort and patron of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, has been the most frequent royal visitor, even coming over to open the Commonwealth Games in 1982 and the Gateway Bridge over Brisbane River in 1986.
The Duke’s first visit to the Sunshine State was in March 1954, just one year after Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in June 1953 at Westminster Abbey.
It was just seven years previously that Queensland Elizabeth II had married the naval officer, who was a
second cousin to the Monarch and had been Prince of Greece and Denmark.
The Queensland Archives records the couple’s first visit from March 9-15, 1954, and took in Brisbane, Bundaberg, Oakey, Toowoomba, Townsville, Cairns, Mackay, Rockhampton and a trip to the Great Barrier Reef for “a day of rest”.
The state bearing the Queen’s name was still very much enthralled by the royal family, more so than today, and several public holidays had been declared by an Act of Parliament.
“Buildings were painted, decorated and illuminated for the visit and all the towns people turned out in their droves to see the royals,” the Archives reported in an article originally published in March, 2011.
In 1963, they were back briefly from March 6-8 in a visit that was limited to Brisbane and Coolangatta.
An enormous crowd gathered at Brisbane City Hall for the royals’ civic reception and, curiously enough, the royal couple also unveiled a cairn at Bulweron Moreton Island “commemorating the discovery of oil in Queensland”.
In 1970 the couple were back with daughter Princess Anne from April 12-23 in a trip which included Mount Isa, where the Duke visited an underground mine.
It was on that tour that Prince Philip spied some children from the tiny Dows Creek State School in the Pioneer Valley west of Mackay gazing at him through the mesh at the Mackay Airport and inquired what these “little monkeys” were up to – a comment that was duly recorded in the local paper, The Daily Mercury.
The Duke also visited the state independently in 1971, 1973 and again in 1986 when he opened the Gateway Bridge