Queen 'not offended' by Australia curtsey row
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II saw an Australian row over Prime Minister Julia Gillard's failure to curtsey as a "storm in a royal teacup", a palace spokeswoman said Tuesday.
Gillard's decision to bow her head and shake the monarch's hand instead of curtseying on her arrival last week sparked a minor furore in the Australian press, with some seeing it as disrespectful by the republican prime minister.
But a Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said the queen was "the person who is least concerned about protocol" and she preferred people to do what made them comfortable.
"Absolutely no offence was taken at all -- it's a storm in a royal teacup," the spokeswoman said.
On her 16th tour of her antipodean realm, the queen had been "delighted" at the enthusiastic reception she had received from the Australian public, with cheering crowds of thousands turning out for her appearances.
"It's almost a coming home for the queen. She has a huge fondness for Australia, a lot of Australians have worked in her household," the spokeswoman said.
And she dismissed speculation that the queen, now 85 and about to celebrate 60 years as monarch, was in Australia for the last time.
"There's no sense at all of 'Thank you and goodbye'."
Her 10-day tour wraps up on Saturday in Perth, where she will open a Commonwealth summit, following visits to Brisbane, Melbourne and an extended stay in Canberra.
© 2011 AFP