My daughter, Claire, “Mommy?”
Claire, “Are we going to see the Queen?”
Me, “Well, uh… ok, sure. Let’s go see the queen.”
Claire, “I need my tiara. Will the Queen wear a crown?”
Me, “No, the queen will probably wear a pretty hat of sorts.”
Claire, “Oh, that’s OK. She doesn’t have to wear it all the time if she doesn’t want to… or something like that.”
10 minutes later, and very last-minute, with sandwiches packed we headed downtown to Federation Square to see the Queen. She is recognized as Queen of Australia, a Commonwealth Realm. The Queen and Prince Philip are visiting Australia (Canberra, Melbourne and Perth) and it is rumored to be her last visit.
We passed waiting police officers, barricades and signs along St. Kilda Road. What have I gotten myself into this time? We found our secret parking area wide open as usual (hey, a secret’s a secret) and walked across the bridge to Federation Square.
After passing security on our way into the square it becomes apparent that my plan on visiting the Australian Centre of the Moving Image with the kids before seeing the Queen has been foiled. It’s 10:30, 2 hours before she is scheduled to arrive, and there are already too many people and too few ways across the red carpeted square and into the museum.
We find a spot behind the barricades and stop. I have no idea what to do. Do I make my kids wait 2 hours, right here in the sun to see a passing glimpse of the Queen? Do I abandon the plan and simply visit the museum? By the time we would have exited the museum there would be little place left to see her and we would be trapped.
So we waited. We interacted with the many other children. And waited. Licked lollies. And waited. Ate sandwiches. And waited. I couldn’t believe I was doing this.
I will report that the Aussies are just as pushy as Americans when it comes to getting the best seat in the house. After getting squished and pushed, a woman asked another woman in front of me to ask the security detail if, “they could move the children with flowers to our side on the carpet so I can see the Queen’s face.” Nice. However, we mums joined forces and offered each other various supplies the other lacked.
After 2 hours in the hot sun we saw the Queen and Prince Philip and waved our Aussie flags. My kids did it. Again, they surprised me and I surprised myself by deciding to wait. Once we saw her, Claire was more energized and excited. “Pink hat! Just for me!” It was a fun experience and I have a story to tell but I’m not sure I’d do it again.