The office of Julia Gillard, the Australian prime minister, disputes who paid for what during the Queen’s visit last year.
The Queen and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, distributed gifts to over 40 dignitaries during their official visit to Australia in October. Gillard’s camp claims that the Australian taxpayer footed the bill for the presents, but a spokesman for Buckingham Palace stated that the Queen had paid for the gifts.
“The Royal Household pays for gifts given by The Queen – not Australian taxpayers,” the spokesman said.
Gillard’s spokesman told Britain’s Telegraph otherwise – “[T]he Australian Government … meet[s]the cost of gifts presented by the Queen when she is in Australia.”
On February 6th, Queen Elizabeth II officially celebrates her 60th year on the throne. It must be an occasion full of mixed feelings – her ascension meant the death of her father, King George VI.
The king died of a coronary thrombosis while asleep. Elizabeth, at the time only a princess, was in Africa with Prince Philip. The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh were undertaking an official visit in the king’s place. He had been ill for some time, and it was advised that His Majesty remain in Britain.
When told the news of his death, the royal party rushed home as soon as they could. Elizabeth had left her native soil as a princess, and had returned as Queen. She was in charge, assuming the reigns of a job that some may describe as being “lonely at the top”.
So it is particularly poignant that Elizabeth will be without her “right arm” for this anniversary. Philip has been advised by his doctors to refrain from undertaking engagements since his heart surgery in December. A stent was placed to open a blocked coronary artery, and the Duke spent several nights in the hospital for observation due to his advanced age.
Philip’s first event after surgery was when he attended a dinner at the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge. It looks to be the first of a very scaled-down schedule for the Duke, whose legendary 300-400 engagements a year are bested only by the Queen herself, and followed closely by their daughter, Princess Anne.
The body discovered on the Queen’s Sandringham estate was found to be 17-year-old Alisa Dmitrijeva. She disappeared on or around August 31st last year. Her remains were found on New Year’s Day.
The grandmother of Dmitrijeva, a Latvian who came to the UK in 2009, has spoken out about the girl’s death and has made a public appeal to find the killer.
Some are claiming that Sarah Ferguson, the former wife of Britain’s Prince Andrew, has a stellar TV career awaiting her in the US. That is, if she ever gets here.
Fergie could be extradited to Turkey due to their extradition agreement with the US. Should the Duchess set foot on our soil, it could cost her jail time.
Her exposé of the treatment of children in Turkish orphanages angered their government, and in turn incited an international relations nightmare for Britain. Some say Fergie is to be commended, others ask if it was merely a publicity stunt to garner attention for the press-starved former royal.
Sarah needs to rub the stars from her eyes and tread carefully. If not, she’ll end up documenting the treatment of prisoners in a Turkish jail.