The Queen officially invested Prince Philip with the Insignia of a Knight of the Order of Australia on Wednesday at Windsor Castle. The short investiture took place in the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle, where Her Majesty and The Duke of Edinburgh are currently residing during Easter Court.
It was announced back in January by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott that The Queen had accepted his recommendation on two new investitures of Knights of the Order of Australia, they were Prince Philip and Sir Angus Houston. Though an honour for Prince Philip, the announcement that he would be invested came with a mixed
reception. Only recently did Prime Minister Abbott reintroduce the Australian Honours list and while some claim it is a great way to honour those who deserve honouring, others believe it is a step backwards towards Imperialistic ideas.
Also present at Wednesday’s investiture was Australian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Alexander Downer. Having previously been a Liberal Party politician and Australia’s Foreign Minister, Mr Downer became High Commissioner to the UK in June 2014.
Although The Queen was presenting her husband with the Insignia, the investiture was still a formal affair, taking place as a royal audience similar to the format where Her Majesty meets with the Prime Minister every week. A Buckingham Palace spokesperson has said that details of the conversation between The Queen, Prince Philip and Mr Downer will not be released to public, just like any other conversations that take place at a normal investiture.
Prince Philip has been honoured for his significant contribution to Australia throughout Her Majesty The Queen’s 63 year reign and at the time of announcement, Tony Abbott also said that Philip’s “long life of service and dedication should be honoured by Australia.”
The Order of Australia was instituted by The Queen in 1975 as “an Australian society of honour for the purpose of according recognition to Australian citizens and other persons for achievement or meritorious service.” In 1983 Prime Minister Bob Hawke advised the abolition of the Knight/Dame grade of the order though in 2014, this grade was reinstated after Tony Abbott advised The Queen to reinstate this grade. Since it has been reinstated, The Queen has personally received the two dames and one knight who have been honoured.
The investiture comes in a week that looks set to be a memorable one for The Royal Family. On Tuesday, The Queen celebrated her 89th birthday and towards the weekend the royals will commemorate the Gallipoli campaign.
Photo Credit: Paul Ratcliffe