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In tribute to a life lived in service to family, to country and to duty.


Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was crowned on 2 June 1953 in Westminster Abbey.  The coronation was the focus for major pageantry and celebrations in Britain and throughout the Commonwealth, and Victorians took to the streets and town halls to honour the occasion with public ceremonies, balls and gatherings. 

In 1954, Queen Elizabeth and her husband HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, embarked on a six month grand tour of the Commonwealth.  It was her first visit to Australia and the first by a reigning monarch.  Almost three quarters of Australia's nine million people glimpsed The Queen in person, in cities and towns across the country.

The Queen made an extensive tour of Victoria over two weeks from 24 February, visiting Melbourne and many other regional towns, travelling at times aboard the Victorian Railways Royal Train. 

It was during this visit that The Queen officially opened the Second Session of the 39th Parliament of Victoria - the only time a Sovereign has opened the Victorian Parliament. An estimated 50,000 people gathered outside Parliament House to welcome Her Majesty. On this trip, Her Majesty also planted a tree, a Ghost Maple, in the gardens of Government House Victoria, which still grows here.

Over many years, Her Majesty maintained a special relationship with Victoria. This first trip in 1954 marked the beginning of many Royal Tours across 60 years. She was always greeted by cheering crowds. In 1954, it was reported that the Melbourne crowds were so vast that they ‘sounded like the roaring of the sea.'

The Queen sometimes broke protocol to connect with Victorians. Strict security surrounded her 1981 visit to Melbourne for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. People had gathered at Station Pier in Port Melbourne for hours in pelting rain to say goodbye as the Royal Yacht Britannia departed. Unexpectedly, Her Majesty appeared on deck, waving, as security gates were opened to allow the crowd in alongside Britannia.

Many Melbourne landmarks have been the site of Royal visits over the years. The Melbourne Cricket Ground in particular welcomed Her Majesty on numerous occasions.

In 1954, The Queen's visit to the MCG saw the stands filled to capacity. In 1977, she was reunited with Australia's former Prime Minister, and by then good friend, Sir Robert Menzies, who had welcomed The Queen on her first visit in 1954. On that day, she  invested Sir Robert Menzies as a Knight of the Order of Australia at a ceremony in the Long Room, an unusual location for such a formal event.

Many years later, another notable trip to the MCG saw The Queen open the Commonwealth Games in 2006. After she had declared the Games open, the crowd, led by soprano Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, sang ‘Happy Birthday’ in celebration of Her Majesty’s  upcoming 80th birthday.

The Queen’s love of horse racing was well known and she also made numerous visits to Flemington Racecourse. On her first visit to Victoria in 1954, The Queen attended a race day and presented the Duke of Edinburgh Australian Cup. The crowds along the way had slowed the Royal car at several points, necessitating  the first race to be delayed until The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh arrived.

In 1976, Her Majesty became the Patron of the Australian Racing Museum. During the 1981 Royal Tour she officially opened the Victorian Racing Museum at Caulfield Racecourse. It was one of the few Australian patronages that she maintained for the length of her reign.

Two of The Queen’s visits to Victoria have held special significance for the Royal Children’s Hospital. Her Majesty was Patron of the Hospital and opened the original building in 1963. In 2011, The Queen returned to officially open the new building and to meet with patients, families and hospital staff.

On that final whirlwind visit to Victoria in 2011, thousands of people gathered in Federation Square and lined St Kilda Road to greet Her Majesty as she travelled on the Royal Tram.

Aside from the Australian Racing Museum, Her Majesty was also Patron to a number of Australian charities and organisations. These included the Australian Medical Association, the Australian Red Cross Society, YMCA Australia, the Scout Association of Australia, the Royal Australian Institute of Architects and the Returned & Services League of Australia.

Her Majesty’s visits, as well as her various patronages, reflect a long and treasured relationship between Her Majesty, the State of Victoria and Australia.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II reigned over the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and Australia for longer than any other monarch in British history.  She was a much loved figure across the globe, respected for her sense of duty and her devotion to a life of service.

During the time of this extraordinary reign of more than 70 years, Victoria, and indeed the world, underwent massive social and political change. For many, Her Majesty’s presence was a constant across those times and throughout their lives.

The people of Victoria are saddened by the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, but grateful for her example of grace and service. We send our condolences to His Majesty King Charles III and the Royal Family.