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The Queen and the Commonwealth

A compilation of articles published in the Australians for Constitutional Monarchy national email newsletter

Fifty four years of faithful service

By David Flint. Published 06-02-2006 in the opinion column "From the Convenors Desk"

The 6th of April, 2006 is the fifty fourth anniversary of the accession of The Queen, who as Princess Elizabeth was on her way to Australia and other countries as part of a Royal Tour which her father, King GeorgeVI, was too sick to undertake.

The Queen was born on 21 April 1926, and baptised Elizabeth Alexandra Mary. Her Majesty became Queen on the sudden and unexpected death of her father, The King, on 6 February 1952. The King was greatly loved for his dedication to his roel and the welfare of his people in those terrible years of the Second World War, when at the beginning, the Commonwealth was almost alone in resisting Hitler.

Today about 128 million people live in countries of which she is Sovereign.

Apart from being Queen of Australia, Her Majesty is Queen of Antigua and Barbuda,, Queen of The Bahamas, Queen of Barbados, Queen of Belize, Queen of Canada, Queen of Grenada, Queen of Jamaica, Queen of New Zealand, Queen of Papua New Guinea, Queen of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Queen of Saint Lucia, Queen of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Queen of the Solomon Islands, Queen of Tuvalu and Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

All are separate ofices, as the High Court of Australia has insisted. There is however a common succession which may only be changed by agreement among the Realms.

Her Majesty is also Head of the Commonwealth, and in England, the Supreme Governor of the Church of England. In addition, she is the Lord of Mann.

She is the second longest reigning monarch in the world, after King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great, the King of Thailand.

Her reign of over five decades has seen ten different Prime Ministers of Australia,beginning with Sir Robert Menzies, ten of the United Kingdom,beginning with Sir Winston Churchill, and numerous Prime Ministers in the other Commonwealth Realms of which she is, or was, Sovereign. There seems a universal sense of respect and appreciation among them for the discretion and the counsel she has offered to them, even those with republican tendencies.

Her long reign has given her an experience of public affairs which would be unique in the world. As Head of the Commonwealth, she exercises her functions without the advice of her ministers, and on occasions has expressed considered opinions which were her own.

Her Majesty has reigned as Queen of Australia for over one half of the life of our nation. During that time, Her Majesty has fulfilled her role impeccably. No allowance is paid for this and all her other roles, the United Kingdom providing funds for the recoupment of the costs of the fulfilling the role as Queen of that Realm. These sums are in no way a salary or allowance - these are grants merely to recoup costs incurred in fulfilling her role. Moreover they are granted in in return for the surrender to the British Government, at the beginning of the reign, of all the income of the Crown Estates, which would otherwise be the personal income of The Queen. This represents a bargain which results in a surplus to the British Government and thus to the taxpayer. Thise who rail about the costs of monarchy do not know what they are talking about, an unfortunately common phenomonen.

The Queen has a strong sense of religious duty and takes her Coronation Oath seriously. Therefore, the sort of abdication seen in some other countries is considered most unlikely.

The Crown is placed and has always been placed at the very centre of our constitutional system, and this occasion allows us to record our appreciation for the service and dedication which Her Majesty has so generously given these many years, both as The Princess Elizabeth, and then as Queen of Australia and Head of the Commonwealth.

On this day, it is particularly appropriate that Australians join with millions overseas, in saying with one voice:

God Save The Queen!

Until next time,

David Flint

Why she is loved

Published 03-08-05 in the opinion column "From the Convenors Desk"

In a letter published in The Spectator of 23 July, Frederick Forsyth explains why The Queen is so loved by her people.

I am indebted to Chistopher Dawson for drawing this to my attention:


Amid the maelstrom of images pouring out of London these past 14 days were two in stark contrast, yet which attracted no mdeia comment.

As the Prime Minister was at the Dispatch Box, it was overlooked that the face of modern Britain still had to scuttle the 300 yards from his home to the Commons in a guarded limousine after the whole area had been cleared of other traffic.

Security, dontcha know.

On 10 July, a lady of 79, with her 84-year-old consort at her side,stood bolt upright in an open Range Rover as it cruised very slowly past ranks of veterans to honour the war dead.

Not a splinter of reinforced glass in sight.

Tradition, dontcha know.

Last month there were media squeals at the revelation that it costs each 41 pence per annum to keep the monarchy on the road.

Which part of 'Damn good value' does what passes for Fleet Street nowadays not understand?

Frederick Forsyth

And of course Her Majesty costs Australia nothing, not a brass razoo - unlike the hordes of perjuring republican politicians who inhabit our parliaments and our councils across the country.

It was extremely courageous for The Queen to drive in an open land rover so soon after the terrorist outrages in London. But it was to be expected

She is, after all, the daughter of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, subsequently The Queen Mother, who stayed during the Blitz, and who were clearly targets of those other terrorists, the Nazis

Professor David Flint

Queen has our eternal and abiding love, declares war hero on behalf of WW2 Veterans

By David Flint. Published 13 July, 2005

At times of grief, and of triumph, people turn to those leaders of the nation who are above politics.

So it was in London after those terrible bombings.

The crowds celebrating the 60th anniversary of the end of the war followed The Queen as she led her veterans down the Mall, braving a terrorist outrage by riding in an open land rover, with Prince Phillip at her side.

And according to MX News, 13 July, 2005, The Queen has made a substantial donation to a fund to help families of the victims of the London bombings.

At the lunch at Buckingham Palace last weekend for the veterans of the Second World War, The Queen sat next to Sir Tasker Watkins, who won a Victoria Cross in Normandy.

Sir Tasker delivered a speech on behalf of his fellow veterans to than their host… According to the Weekly Telegraph, No 729, he reminded the world that The Queen had been "one of us", serving in the ATS.

Her old soldier concluded:

"Ma'am, keep well, stay with us much longer.

You have our eternal and abiding love.

God bless you"

What more can we say than this?

David Flint

The cost of the Monarchy

By Philip Benwell MBE. Published 24-02-06

Much is being made of the latest figures showing that the cost of the Royal Family to Great Britain was £36m a year or 61p per person.

What is not said is, that in 1760, when King George III ascended the Throne, the administration of the Crown Estate, comprising lands owned by The Crown going back long before even the Norman Conquest of 1066, was handed over to the Government which, in return, apportions a part of the revenue to cover the annual cost of the Monarchy with the remainder going into the National Exchequer.

Therefore, far from being a burden on the taxpayer, the British people actually make an enormous profit each year out of The Crown, and this is not even counting the revenue generated by tourism!

Philip Benwell MBE
National Chairman
Australian Monarchist League.

The greatest charitable entrepreneur in the world

By David Flint. Published 24-02-06 in the opinion column "From the Convenors Desk"

During the media and republican feeding frenzy over the marriage of Prince Charles to Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, we pointed out that along side his other qualities, Charles had made an extraordinary contribution to the work of many worthwhile charities.

In the last year The Prince helped to raise, directly or indirectly, about a quarter of a billion dollars, that is close to £109 million, for his main charities.

The release of the Prince's second Annual Review was reported in the London Daily Telegraph, 1 July under the headline: PRINCE "IS THE GREATEST CHARITABLE ENTREPRENEUR IN THE WORLD"

The Annual Review also sets out for the first time a collective "family" identity and logo for The Prince's 16 core charities, which have been introduced together with new policies and procedures in key areas such as corporate governance, financial reporting, fundraising and communications.

The Prince donated a sizeable portion of his income-close to six million dollars (£32.5 million) to charity.

And as his Private Secretary, Sir Michael Peat observed he "risked life and limb at his fairly advanced age" - he is 56 - playing polo for charity, raising more than 17 million dollars ( more than £7.5 million) over the past 10 years.

While Bill Gates is the world's largest charitable benefactor, Sir Michael said that the Prince actively identified a need and then established a charity to answer the need.

The Annual Review revealed that the Prince had undertaken over 500 engagements, including 103 overseas, and received or entertained 7,400 official guests at Clarence House and other royal residences.

He had attended 191 formal briefings and meetings, received over 47,000 letters from the public and wrote over 2,300 letters personally, with a further 18,000 written on his behalf by his Office.

Sir Michael said "We publish the Annual Review because we believe that people are entitled to know how The Prince of Wales fulfils his public role.

The Review explains his official and charitable work and how it is funded, and illustrates the range and scope of The Prince's contribution to national life. We also include this year more information about his core charities, as well as highlights from what has been another busy 12 months culminating in Their Royal Highness's wedding on 9th April."

The Review also details how The Prince's work is funded.

The Prince does not receive a Civil List or a Parliamentary Annuity but uses his personal income from the Duchy of Cornwall to pay for his official activities, supported by The Queen's Grant-in-Aid funding to provide some travel, property and communications facilities.

The Prince's income from the Duchy of Cornwall rose by 11% to just over £13million, principally reflecting the full-year impact of commercial properties acquired in 2003-04, and commercial property rent reviews.

Mention should also be made of Duchy Originals, The Prince's organic foods company, made a £1 million profit for the second consecutive year, on increased retail sales of nearly £40million.

All of the profits are donated to The Prince of Wales's Charitable Foundation.

I look forward to reading and hearing reports about these matters in our media.

David Flint

Courageous Queen leads Veterans

By David Flint. Published 12-07-05 in the opinion column "From the Convenors Desk"

The Queen defied the threat of terrorist attack yesterday to ride down the Mall not in a closed bullet proof car, but in an open-top Range Rover.

With Prince Philip at her side and standard bearers of the Royal British Legion behind her,and in front of crowds estimated at a quarter of a million people, The Queen led the veterans of the Second World War down the Mall.

This " courageous gesture", as the London Daily Telegraph described it, was made by The Queen in the celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the end of the war in which the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and her other realms were so intimately involved.

Indeed we were almost alone after the Nazi occupation of most of mainland Europe, the Nazi -Soviet agreement to ravage Eastern Europe between them and the neutrality of the USA.

The Queen has of course her own memories of her life and that of her family in London during the blitz. And Her Majesty too has personally suffered the loss of dear ones in war and through the acts of terrorists, most recently the murder by the IRA of the war hero, Earl Mountbatten and of the elderly lady and the two children who happened to be with him.

Referring to the recent terrorist attacks during a speech in Horse Guards, The Queen recalled the courage of the veterans and their generation:

"It does not surprise me that, during the present difficult days for London, people turn to the example set by that generation of resilience, humour, sustained courage, often under conditions of great deprivation.

That example and those memories should be kept alive by younger generations as they in their turn strive to keep the peace in our troubled world.

A spokesman for Buckingham Palace, quoted in the London Daily Telegraph, said the use of the open-top Range Rover had in fact been planned long before Thursday's Underground and bus bombings and it had been decided to keep to the arrangement.

"It was the same vehicle the Queen used for the Jubilee celebrations," he said.

As in 1945, in such moments, people gravitate physically or emotionally towards the Sovereign who, being above politics, is a symbol of unity and not division.

As the Telegraph said, these scenes were reminiscent of 1945.

So the crowds followed The Queen and her veterans down the Mall.

Then, with the Royal Family now on the balcony - and not behind bullet proof glass - a flypast of period aircraft, including the Lancaster of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight followed.

A million poppy petals were dropped over the crowds, and a military band played Land of Hope and Glory.

The Telegraph reported that the most subdued part of the day was in the morning when the royal party attended a service of thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey attended by politicians, senior officers and veterans.

What should have been a service of farewell to the dead of 60 years ago became a moment to remember the dead of the previous 72 hours.

There was silence as the seven books of remembrance containing the names of all the British civilians killed in the Second World War were paraded through the Abbey.

As the royal party left, the Abbey bells were struck simultaneously, or fired.

It was, the Telegraph said, the first time they had been rung in such a way since VE Day and VJ Day.

Lunch was then held at the Palace for hundreds of veterans, followed by a show in Horse Guards in front of 12,000 invited guests.

The Telegraph says that it is expected that veterans of the war in the Far East will also stage a substantial event to mark VJ Day.

These wonderful scenes demonstrate once again the continuity and stability the constitutional monarchy gives to our nations, and the quiet courage and strength of our Sovereign Lady, The Queen.

David Flint

The Queen soldiers

By David Flint. Published 24/02/06 in the opinion column "From the Convenors Desk"

Frederick Forsyth, the British author is best known for his novels The Day of the Jackal, The Dogs of War, The Odessa File, Icon and The Fist of God.

He also writes the occasional opinion piece for the press. In a recent piece, available here in the International express, 5 July, 2005, he noted that The Queen, aged 79, had had to cancel all engagements for three days, because of a cold, which Forsyth surmised probably came from a rain-drenched Ascot week in York.

Apart from normal holidays, this was the first time off she had had in 52 years as Queen! Forsyth asked his readers to imagine a job where you did not say" No I'm not up to that to-day."

She never does that. Always there greeting, nodding, smiling, doing her duty, never letting us down. The whole Royal family costs 61 pence per UK citizen, not daily nor monthly, but 61 pence each year.

(As I explained in a recent column, the UK actually makes a profit on the Royal Family, and that is before you take into account the tourist revenues they clearly attract.)

Of course they cost Australians nothing, even if our desperate republicans have to work out the "cost" of security for them - something not done for anybody else and as if the security services are not already paid to be on call for such duties.

We just had a US warship in Sydney Harbour-it had to be protected, but who is so crass as to jump up and down about the costs of providing security?

David Flint

Pride in our Crown Father Janzen speaks on the Queen of Canada.

By David Flint. Published 19-02-06in the opinion column "From the Convenors Desk"

"Canadians should stop apologizing for their strengths and take a bit more visible pride in the institutions which have symbolized this country for over 500 years.

As we celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Canadians can look back over the last 50 years with a tremendous sense of pride at all that our Queen has represented and dutifully performed as Canada's Head of State.

In her long reign, The Queen's impact has been great and varied.

Former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau paid tribute in his memoirs to Her Majesty's role in facilitating patriation of our Constitution in 1982.

When the Premier of Quebec, Jean Lesage, watched the Queen carrying our her duties in face of separatist violence in 1964, he was so moved by Her Majesty's calmness and courage that he kept breaking into tears.

The Queen has also had an impact on Canada's U.S. neighbor. After the freeing of some of the American hostages in Iran in 1979 through the efforts of the Canadian Ambassador, the picture of American gratitude that was flashed around the world was the scrawled message "God Save the Queen!" on a bag of U.S. mail bound for Canada.

The view of several generations of Canadians on the subject of their Queen was summed up by then Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, who said: "No Sovereign has served her Canadian subjects with more grace, more concern and more good will than has Queen Elizabeth II."

The Prime Minister expressed this feeling directly to Her Majesty, saying: "You have stood with Canadians and you have stood by them, and Canadians in turn regard you with loyalty and affection."

The Queen, in her 1991 Christmas broadcast, responded in kind with the words: "I feel the same obligation to you that I felt in 1952. With your prayers, and your help, and with the love and support of my family, I shall try to serve you in the years to come."

As it was at the turn of the last century, so too as we entered into the 21st century, Canadians sang "God Save the Queen"; and a monarch of sage years and great respect sits upon the Throne of Canada.

Long may she reign!"

These sentiments undoubtedly apply with equal strength to our Queen, The Queen of Australia.

David Flint

Those who criticise Prince Charles should ask themselves one thing… and stop press

By David Flint. Published 19-02-06 in the opinion column "From the Convenors Desk"

It is fashionable in elite circles to sneer at the Royal Family.

This is particularly so in relation to Prince Charles.

Remember, as he was about to be married and then again when he went to the US.

On both occasions, the leaders of that sneering claque, the republican journalists, spoke too soon.

As a result of their unrealized projections of, if not disaster, at least boredom of such intensity to keep everyone away, were all unrealized.

I have never heard of Jools Holland. But when I read in the London Daily Telegraph of 8 November, 2005, that he is the former keyboard player in the band Squeeze and television sidekick of Paula Yates, I was none the wiser.

This reminded me of the occasion when that brilliant advocate and future Lord Chancellor, FE Smith replied to a judge who had said he had read Mr Smith's submissions but was none the wiser:

"Possibly not, my lord, but no doubt, better informed."

I was similarly better informed about Mr. Holland who, the Telegraph claimed, was recently described in print as "Britain's best-connected man".

In any event, Mr. Holland's guests at his recent wedding included Ringo Starr, Robbie Coltrane, Stephen Fry and Jennifer Saunders, with the McCartneys flying in for the reception. Now even I have heard of them, or at least some of them.

His wife is a member of a landed Scottish family. She was, according to the Telegraph, formerly married to the Earl of Durham.

So Mr Holland is one of that modern phenomenon, the celebrity, about whom the media are so enthralled. And as a celebrity, he is expected to proclaim that he is a "passionate republican", evan if as is usually the case, he barely understands what this means.

In addition, he is, as a celebrity, it is mandatory that he sneer about the opponents of republicanism, and of course those monarchical targets, in particular, the Prince of Wales.

But not, it seems, Mr Holland. Instead, as our parents did, he takes people as he finds them. Pre-judging people who are posh is as bad as pre-judging people who are black, he says.

"I say: 'Look at a person's works'," he adds.

"Before we cast any stones and open our big gobs, we might want to look carefully at what the person we are criticising has done or not done," he says, referring to the Prince of Wales.

The prince, whom he adds is "actually very likeable", could "do a lot less if he wanted to", but works hard for charities such as the Prince's Trust, with which Holland is involved.

Those who want to criticise the prince should first ask themselves if - like the trust - they've done anything like "helping a million teenagers", he says.

"If you haven't, maybe you should keep your big hooter out of it."

Let's hear that again. Those who want to criticise the prince should first ask themselves if - like the trust - they've done anything like "helping a million teenagers", he says. "If you haven't, maybe you should keep your big hooter out of it."

Holland got to know the prince through the trust, for which he is now an "ambassador". As the Telegraph says, unlike some celebrities and their charity work, Holland can actually talk for more than 10 seconds about its work in helping disadvantaged young people.

That's a message for the royal-haters, and especially the Charles-haters.

If you haven't helped a million teenagers, just keep your big hooter out of it!

David Flint

Prince Charles wins farmer, environemntal, union plaudits.

By David Flint. Published 28-02-06 in the opinion column "From the Convenors Desk"

Haven't they learned their lesson?

They were shown to be hopelessly wrong -hopelessly-over the wedding which was going to propel them into a referendum. Instead, record numbers of Australians sat up on Saturday night to watch the Royal wedding. We have for long been pointing out that at an age when most baby boomers are thinking of retirement, our Prince has been working hard to raise vast sums - about a quarter of a billion dollars just last year - for some very worthwhile causes.

The Prince is closer to the thinking of the rank and file than your usual elite. He does not like ghastly, ugly architecture, and he prefers the traditional liturgy. And he has been a pioneer in farming

The delightfully named British journalist, Cherry Ripe's radio documentary on Prince Charles' Duchy Home Farm will be broadcast on ABC Radio National's Big Ideas on 29 January. Prince Charles actually adopted organic farming two decades ago on his organic Duchy Home Farm at Highgrove in Gloucestershire. He has put his traditional farming ideas- no fertilisers or pesticides and other chemicals, and no antibiotics- into practice in a way that is now paying for itself.

He gradually converted about 500ha of stony Cotswold land after he had settled at Highgrove. He hired a novice in these old ways of agriculture, David Wilson, to run the place. Organic techniques - the raising of crops and animals without the use of fertilisers or pesticides and other chemicals, and mostly without antibiotics - were seen then as health-related and expensive but have become viewed as a survival path for smaller farms, and a way of keeping farming families on the land.

Cherry Ripe reports that he has won the support not only of environmentalists and the health conscious, but also the farmers and the trade unions who see the increased number of workers necessary to produce these healthy crops.

So with the many around the world, whose lives have been changed by his charities, or who see his pioneering work indicating precisely where we should be going, we say heartily:

" God Bless the Prince of Wales!"

David Flint

The Queen's 80th Birthday: Prince Charles' role.

By David Flint. Published 17-01-06 in the opinion column "From the Convenors Desk"

Prince Charles is planning a televised address to the nation to mark the Queen's 80th birthday this year, according to Christopher Morgan writing in The Sunday Times January 08, 2006:

Our attention was drawn to this by an email from the Monarchist Alliance in Melbourne. The broadcast is expected to be transmitted on BBC and ITV on the eve of his mother's actual birthday on Friday, 21 April.

Prince Charles previously broadcast short televised tributes to the Queen Mother and to Princess Margaret after their deaths in 2002. An aide says that The Prince is a competent media performer, and speaks without an Autocue or notes.

The broadcast is expected to be the most high-profile in a series of celebratory events.

The report says that Prince Andrew will exhibit some of his photographs of his mother in a public show at Windsor Castle at the time of the royal birthday, alongside those of the late Lord Lichfield, a first cousin once removed of the Queen, and other photographers.

Two days before the birthday the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will host a reception and lunch at Buckingham Palace for members of the public who are also celebrating their 80th birthday on April 21.

There will be a service of thanksgiving at St George's Chapel, Windsor, on the Sunday after the birthday and, in mid-June, there will be a national service of thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral, followed by a lunch at the Guildhall given by the Lord Mayor of London.


The Times: "Prince Charles' increased role" According to The Times, London, 16 January, 2006:

Prince Charles will hold more regular audiences with the Prime Minister as part of a review of his duties, while the Queen prepares to scale back her public engagements as her 80th birthday approaches.

The report says that the Palace is considering giving the Prince more access to government papers, and is to allow him to preside over more investitures, meet more foreign dignitaries and take the place of the Queen in welcoming ambassadors at the Court of St James's. The Queen, whose 80th birthday is on 21 April, and the Duke of Edinburgh, who will be 85 in June, will spend more time at Windsor, reports The Times.

The newpaper says that Prince Charles, who held two private audiences with Prime Minister Tony Blair last year, will relish more meetings with ministers, to whom he writes regularly on a range of issues.

The Times says that The Queen will maintain her weekly audience with the Prime Minister.

Mr. Blair at times is said not to observe appropriate protocol. When he announced his unwise decision to abolish the ancient office of Lord Chancellor, which he subsequently had to abandon, it is said that the first the Palace heard of this was when they read it in the papers! Perhaps if he had spoken to The Queen first, her advice might have made him pause until he was properly advised.

The Sovereign, with her long experience, and her respect for the confidentiality of the occasion,is not only a constitutional check and balance. Her Majesty is also a valuable resource which only an unwise Prime Minister, including those of the Realms, would not take the opportunity to receive.

The Times reports that Her Majesty will also preside on occasions such as Trooping the Colour, the State Opening of Parliament or state banquets.

Last year, just in the UK, the Queen carried out 378 official duties and the Duke of Edinburgh attended 352.

The Times says the enhanced role for the Prince, and also the Duchess of Cornwall, has been made possible by the success of the Royal Visit to the United States last year, and acceptance of the role of the Duchess. It is worth recalling that this was in the context of a campign by republicans, including those in the media, to portray the Prince's marriage as the "beginning of the end", and to report in advance the" failure" of the US visit.

How disappointed they were when, at a time in the middle of the night, and on a weekend, when few people normally would watch television, record numbers of Australians watched the Royal Wedding.

David Flint

The Queen's Eightieth Birthday… and we can trust her judgment

By David Flint. Published 19-02-06 in the opinion column "From the Convenors Desk"

It is hard to believe that The Queen will be eighty this year.

Apart from having the appearance of a much younger person, Her Majesty maintains a workload that someone half her age would find demanding. And unlike a president, she costs us nothing, the British taxpayers actually making a considerable profit on the monarchy.

And unlike a president, we pay The Queen - and we will never pay The Queen - any superannuation whatsoever or indeed any golden handshake.

According to a recent Press Release, Buckingham Palace is planning a number of events to celebrate The Queen's 80th birthday in 2006.

Her Majesty's actual birthday is on 21 April and her official birthday is on 17 June in the United Kingdom (in 2006, probably on 19 June in most parts of Australia, except in Western Australia where traditionally it will be on 2 October).

Apart from celebrations around the Commonwealth, the British celebrations are to be at both Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.

They will combine private family celebrations with more public occasions.

The Queen will spend her actual birthday, 21 April, at Windsor Castle as usual.

Her Majesty's official birthday will be marked by that wonderful ceremony, the annual Trooping the Colour on 17 June.

Other events planned around these two dates will include:


Frankly, I would far rather trust the Queen's judgment on what is good for this country than that of any temporary politician who chooses to play the game of running it, declared Simon Heffner in his regular London Daily Telegraph column on 19 November, 2005.

He recalled that Ayman al-Zawahiri had, on behalf of al-Qa'eda, "delivered a ferocious denunciation of one of his and his movement's most bitter enemies: that well-known zealot and extremist Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II"

Al-Zawahiri had named The Queen as one of the "severest enemies of Islam", and had accused her of being responsible for what he called Britain's "crusader laws".

Simon Heffner decided to "let pass the detailed knowledge of the British constitution that such remarks indicate Mr al-Zawahiri manifestly doesn't have."

What he found wonderful was that the threat seemed, almost unprecedentedly, to have "stirred The Queen into one of those defences of the Faith that figure so prominently in her (British) job description."

Her Majesty recently addressed "her fellow extremists in the Synod", that is a synod of the Church of England.

There, Her Majesty celebrated the "uniqueness" of the Christian faith, and spoke of Her "conviction that all people, irrespective of race, background or circumstances, can find lasting significance and purpose in the Gospel of Jesus Christ".

This is indeed a forthright affirmation of The Queen's strong personal faith.

David Flint

Why we remain a monarchy

By David Flint. Published 19-02-06 in the opinion column "From the Convenors Desk"

Why do counties such as Australia, Canada and New Zealnd prefer to remain constitutional monarchies? The reason is in part historical, as the Canadian priest Father Janzen explains:

"As our thoughts and prayers turn from the passing of our beloved Queen Mother to the much anticipated celebrations surrounding The Queen's Golden Jubilee, it is important to understand why Canada is a Monarchy; and what it is that makes the Crown a unique institution to be cherished in this country.

Canada is a Constitutional Monarchy by choice - freely willed by a free people. Queen Elizabeth II (since 1952), is the Queen of Canada and our Head of State. This is a simple statement of fact based on the Constitution, laws, and history of Canada."

Father Janzen points to the mistake some make of thinking those who wish to keep our constitutions do so for only sentimental reasons. He says:

"Unfortunately, there are some who think that the Monarchy is just some symbol of a British past which we have hung on to for sentimental reasons. There are others in Canada who are under the erroneous impression that the Monarchy went out the window when the Canadian constitution was patriated in 1982. The truth is that Canada remains a constitutional monarchy not only out of respect for our past but out of a keen desire to remain a united and democratic country for future generations."

David Flint

The Queen's Governments

By David Flint. Published 19-02-06 in the opinion column "From the Convenors Desk"

In the commentary to the reprinting of Dr HV Evatt's "The Royal Prerogative", ANU Professor of Law, Leslie Zines states the clear constitutional position.

This is that all governments, federal or state governments are "Governments of The Queen", that is, the Queen of Australia.

They are not governments of the prime minister, or of the premier, or indeed, of the Coalition or the Labor Party.

No matter how much our politicians try to hide it and try to avoid it, federal or state, remain the governments of The Queen.

And the powers of the Crown, whether exercised by The Queen, the Governor-General or the Governors, are held in trust for the people.

That is in essence a constitutional monarchy.

Under this system, the politicians are not the masters but remain the servants of the people. It's not theirs; it's The Queen's who holds her powers in trust for the people.

Never let the politicians forget that they remain under the Crown. Not above it or instead of it.They are under the Crown!

Whenever they forget that, they begin to think they are free to do anything they want to.

Remind them just who is in charge!

David Flint

Replace Republican politicians who just don't perform: UK proposal

By David Flint. Published 19-02-06 in the opinion column "From the Convenors Desk"

Are you satisfied with the way our mainly republican politicians run our railways,our electricity providers, our water boards, our police forces and our hospitals?

A novel suggestion in the UK is that Prince Charles should run the National Health Service!

This is because Prince Charles runs his personal property extraordinarily well. Environmentally sensitive, he pays his taxes and still manages to turn out a handsome surplus.

And he has found the time and the resources to raise - just in one year - the equivalent of nearly a quarter of a billion Australian dollars for his very worthwhile charities.

Isn't it time MPs were more scrutinised, asked Alice Thompson in the London Daily Telegraph of 29 July, 2005: (

Under the headline, PERHAPS PRINCE CHARLES SHOULD RUN THE NHS, (the National Health Service) she wrote:

"They are off on another three-month holiday, their pensions are among the best in Britain, they receive generous petrol allowances, first-class tickets to their constituencies, subsidised canteen food and second homes, free central London parking, and, in the case of the Prime Minister, wonderful holidays from Italy to the Bahamas."

"If the House of Commons were a business, they'd cut the number of MPs in half, increase the sitting hours and slash their expenses. "

But instead, she says, it's the Prince of Wales again!

"The Public Accounts Committee has been auditing the Duchy of Cornwall."

"They are appalled that the Prince of Wales seems to have been managing his affairs so well. The revenue from the estate has almost doubled from £6.9 million in 1999, to £13.2 million in the last published accounts."

"So why do they want the Prince to step down from running the duchy? "

And as she points out, the estate is not a public company, nor the property of the politicians.

It was created by Edward III in 1337 with the specific aim of securing financial independence for his son. It's more like a family trust.

Prince Charles receives no income from the British Civil List, he pays 40 pence in the pound tax, and he funds everything, except his official travel arrangements. And he uses some of his revenue to run his charities.

As Alice Thompson says,"If Prince Charles were a playboy prince who had let the duchy run to rack and ruin he would have been fair game. If he suddenly starts spending his inheritance on gambling, then the Chancellor and the MPs should get involved."

"But the Chancellor has made it clear this week that he has no gripes, and the Prince of Wales is looking far more hardworking than many MPs."

David Flint

Queen defiant Queen takes defiant stance

By David Flint. Published 10-07-05 in the opinion column "From the Convenors Desk"

This was the headline in the Sun Herald of 14 July, 2005.

The newspaper reported that The Queen, evoking her mother's courage during World War II and the British bulldog spirit, visitedsurvivors of the London bombs and issued a defiant message to the = terrorists: "They will not change our way of life."

This was in an unscheduled speech thanking hospital staff, who cheered her as she entered the hospital canteen.

Referring to East Enders' experience of the Blitz, she said: "Sadly, we in Britain have been all too familiar with acts of terrorism and members of my generation, especially at this end of London, know that we have been here before. Atrocities such as these simply reinforce our sense of community, our humanity, our trust in the rule of law."

This terrorist outrage was the deadliest attack on the capital since World War II, when the Royal Family remained in London and visited victims of the German air raids.

To the British, and to Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians and many others, the Royal Family set a standard of leadership which was so encouraged us in those dark days.

It should also not be forgotten that The Queen herself knows how cruel the crimes of cowardly terrorist can be.

On 27 August 1979, the Queen's cousin, the war hero, World War II Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in SE Asia, the last Viceroy and the first Governor-General of India, Lord Louis Mountbatten, aged 79, along with the 82 year old Dowager Lady Brabourne as well as two boys, one his grandson, were brutally murdered by the Provisional Irish Republican Army when a bomb was detonated on their unguarded fishing boat.

Prince Charles delivered the eulogy at the funeral of Lord Louis, a favourite uncle.

Thomas Mc Mahon was sentenced to life imprisonment for his part in the crime. He was released in 1998 under the Good Friday Agreement.

In the aftermath of the recent terrorist outrage, others in the Royal family have also offered support to the injured and to emergency service workers.

Prince Charles, on a separate hospital visit, said: "What I can never get over is the resilience of the British people who have set us all a fantastic example of how to recover."

Prince William has sent his own message of sympathy from New Zealand.

The Sun Herald quoted Royal historian and biographer Hugo Vickers on the great comfort that The Queen is on occasions like this: "It is comforting for people to see the Queen. They know she lived through the war as a child and can understand them," he said. "It might be an unfair comparison, but [Prime Minister Tony] Blair never did that. That is an advantage for the Queen - she is a constant." As ACM director Peter Cavanagh said, this was wonderful proof that the monarchy can give to people something that a mere, short term president can never give - continuity and an enduring place in the heart of the nation.

Presidential Immunity

In previous columns, we have referred to something which astounds those who live in constitutional monarchies - that republics can actually protect their presidents not only from criminal prosecution for alleged crimes, even those which took place before they became president, but even any criminal investigation!

According to the leading French newspaper Le Monde, 9 July 2005, documents from the French secret service confirm that President Mitterrand explicitly authorised the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior in Auckland Harbour in 1985.

French secret service operatives were found guilty of this crime in a NZ court.

Under republican law, President Mitterand could not have even been investigated by the French authorities!

This demonstrates, surely, the superiority of constitutional monarchy.

David Flint

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