Ladies in waiting for Queen's visit

AS ROYAL visits go, it was ladies' day: the Queen, the Governor-General, the Prime Minister, the Chief Minister of the ACT.

The powerful women gathered on the tarmac at Canberra's Fairbairn RAAF base, their husbands and partner relegated to bit players. Where once a young Queen Elizabeth would inevitably have been surrounded by men at such occasions - indeed, for almost all her previous 15 visits to Australia - the balance has changed decisively, just as it might appear has Australia's enthusiasm for royal visits.

Fifty-seven years after she first arrived in Canberra as a young monarch, greeted by large and rapturous crowds lining the roads, Queen Elizabeth emerged last evening, a tiny figure at the top of a flight of airline steps, to a restrained cheer from 200 schoolchildren and another 200 parents, teachers and minders.

The Governor-General, Quentin Bryce - a symphony in pink to the Queen's quieter aqua - offered a curtsey. The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, in sensible navy two-piece suit, bent her head a bit in what might have been construed as a bow.

Ms Bryce's husband, Michael, and Ms Gillard's partner, Tim Mathieson, stood by, while Prince Philip trailed his wife by a step or two. Yes. Ladies' day.

Read more at brisbanetimes.com.au

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