Queen urges Commonwealth 'legacy'
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II Friday invoked an Australian Aboriginal proverb which notes "we are just passing through", as she called for enduring results from a Commonwealth summit.
In an address to open the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Perth, the 85-year-old monarch said she had attended many such summits which had looked to the future with a sense of vision and practical action.
"In your deliberations over the days ahead, you have the encouragement of the whole Commonwealth to maintain this vital tradition," she said.
"The results of this meeting may be global in impact or simply touch a single individual even imperceptibly. But in every respect I trust the results will be positive and enduring."
As the representatives of the 54-nation bloc which stretches over six continents and ranges from impoverished nations to wealthy, advanced economies, watched, the queen recited an Aboriginal proverb "which is itself enduring".
"We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love. And then we return home," she said before officially declaring the summit open.
Dressed in a powder blue silk jacquard dress and coat with navy trim adorned with a sapphire brooch which previously belonged to her late mother, the queen said the 2011 CHOGM promised "to bring new vibrancy to the Commonwealth".
"I wish heads of government well in agreeing further reforms that respond boldly to the aspirations of today and that keep the Commonwealth fresh and fit for tomorrow," she said.
Thousands have thronged events in Canberra, Melbourne and Brisbane to see the queen and husband Prince Philip, with scores presenting her with flowers, with the suggestion this could be her last visit to the distant realm.
"We are grateful to the people of Australia for their welcome," the queen said in her address.
The royal couple have toured flood-hit Brisbane, journeyed around Melbourne on a tram and paid tribute to fallen soldiers in Canberra since arriving on October 19.
Prince Philip, 90, Friday visited the Special Air Service Regiment at its Perth home base where he presented berets to the latest soldiers to pass the rigorous selection course to be accepted into the elite force.
"I want you to know how much it means for me to be here, to have this opportunity to congratulate these lads on surviving the course, and express to you my admiration and respect for your work," he said.
The couple are set to attend a massive public barbecue in Perth on Saturday before jetting back to London.
© 2011 AFP