This week, the Governor made an official visit to the United Kingdom at the request of the Victorian Government. The Governor attended the Coronation of Their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla, the Coronation Concert at Windsor Castle, and participated in The Big Help Out initiative.
The Governor made an Official Visit to the United Kingdom, at the request of the Victorian Government.
The strong relationship between Victoria and the United Kingdom is maintained through a number of education, industry and sporting ties. Whilst on official travel to the United Kingdom, the Governor visited Oxford University and met with representatives from a range of organisations and faculties. This included meetings with representatives from the Jenner Institute to hear about their innovation in medical research, Oxford Science Enterprises to learn about investment in university spin-outs and the Wardens of Rhodes House and All Souls College. In her capacity as Chair of the Victorian Rhodes Scholar Selection Committee, the Governor also had the opportunity to meet with Victorian Rhodes Scholars currently completing their studies at Oxford University.
In one of the final engagements at Oxford University, the Governor gave an address to members of the Chief of Staff Association. The speech outlined the role of the Governor and its contemporary form in constitutional, ceremonial, community and international engagement areas. Speaking to attendees, the Governor acknowledged the important role that a Chief of Staff plays in facilitating the Government House program. Read more of the Governor’s speech here.
The Governor also had the opportunity to meet with members of the Duchy of Cornwall. The Duchy is one of two private royal estates which helps fund the public, charitable and private activities of Royal Family members. The Governor received a briefing on and tour of Poundbury, an innovative urban extension in Dorset that aims to improve urban planning, sustainability and development. The tour was hosted by Dominic Richards OAM, Director of the Prince’s Trust and co-Founder of Our Place which creates places that celebrate local identity, mixed uses, sustainable communities and walkable neighbourhoods. The visit builds on a trip Mr Richards made to Victoria earlier this year, during which the Governor hosted a roundtable on sustainable communities and architecture.
The Governor also met with Baroness Scotland of Asthal PC KC, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth. The meeting was an opportunity to discuss Victoria’s role in the Commonwealth as well as the upcoming Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games. Following this, the Governor attended the Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement launch reception. The agreement serves to strengthen the COVID-19 recovery for both countries and generates new export opportunities. Learn more here.
On Saturday 6 May, the Governor, along with other Australian State Governors, attended the Coronation of Their Majesties, King Charles III and Queen Camilla. The Coronation ceremony marked the formal investiture of both Monarchs with regal power and the commencement of the Coronation weekend. Learn more about the Coronation Ceremony here. On Sunday 7 May, the Governor attended the Coronation Concert, hosted by Their Majesties at Windsor Castle. The Coronation weekend also saw people encouraged to participate in both The Big Help Out initiative and the Big Lunch, which aims to combat social isolation and loneliness by encouraging communities to get together and share a meal with neighbours and friends to mark the historic occasion.
In Victoria, Mr Howard hosted an Open House event to mark Coronation Day. Visitors were able to explore the State Apartments and write congratulatory messages for Their Majesties in commemorative books which will be sent to the Royal Family. In the evening, Government House joined other landmarks and institutions across Australia by lighting the tower purple to mark the Coronation.
In tribute to His Majesty The King’s long-term involvement in community and charity work, members of the public were encouraged to participate in The Big Help Out initiative and spend the Monday bank holiday volunteering in their local communities. In the United Kingdom, the Governor, alongside staff from the United Kingdom Victorian Government Trade and Investment Office, volunteered with the Children’s Book Project. The charity works across the United Kingdom to redistribute thousands of new and used books to tackle book poverty. To date, it has gifted 899,230 books to families, schools and prisoners. Learn more about the Children’s Book Project here.
In Victoria, Mr Howard, along with a large number of staff from Government House participated in The Big Help Out by volunteering with Foodbank Victoria. Due to the increasing cost of living pressures, more Victorians are relying upon the services and support of Foodbank. As Australia’s largest hunger relief charity, Foodbank currently provides 1.5 million meals each month and supports over 1000 schools with healthy meals and cooking programs. Staff were briefed on the recent expansion of Foodbank programs that aims to reach more families through local schools, before spending the day packing food hampers. Learn more about Foodbank and its impact here.