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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 4 Hansard (9 April) . . Page.. 788 ..

MS DUNDAS (continuing):

a pastel outfit and a cheeky smile, was shown during World War II when the royal standard flew steadfastly over Buckingham Palace in defiance of persistent air raids.

I think that Australians took her into their hearts because we all know someone like her. Many families have a grandmother that sometimes gets a bit tiddly but enjoys a bet on the horses, and the Queen Mum was that royal grandmother to us all. The Queen Mum exemplified compassion in public life that spanned a century and she will be missed by many.

MRS DUNNE: Mr Speaker, it has been said many times when someone has died that that was the end of an era. Condolences, reflections and obituaries often lend themselves to maudlin sentiment and a certain amount of hyperbole; but, in the case of the Queen Mother, an era most certainly has ended. She has been for all of us here, for our entire nation, a seemingly permanent landmark. She has been more than that: she has been the smiling face of royalty, the twinkle in the eye beneath the heavy formality.

She was, of course, a product of a different world and lived to see the world change profoundly. Throughout her long life she stood in the eye of the hurricane of some of the greatest events of the history of Britain, the Empire, and the world. It was, however, not by choice. Her royal status was very much one of those accidents of history, coming to the throne as she did only after the seismic shocks of the abdication in 1936 that shook the very foundations of the monarchy.

Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon was born on 4 August 1900. Her life at its early stages was unremarkable. She was educated at home and spent her days in her family's estates is Hertfordshire and Scotland. She came from privilege but was a commoner, a country girl. On the day she turned 14, World War I began. Her family home in Scotland, Glamis Castle, was turned into a hospice for sick and injured soldiers, and her adolescence was spent as a volunteer helping to look after the victims of the war. In her 20s, she met Prince Albert, "Bertie", and they married.

Elizabeth was unknown to the public, but her popularity was established at speed. She was a great novelty-a member of the royal family who smiled in public. The wedding, on 26 April 1923, was the first marriage of a king's son since 1382 to be held outside a royal chapel. She had been reluctant to marry royalty-as she put it so forthrightly, "afraid never, never again to be free to think, speak and act as I feel I really ought to". Suddenly, he was the King and she was the Queen. Then the horrors of World War II broke out and London itself was subjected to German bombing.

Suggestions made that she should take her royal daughters, Elizabeth and Margaret Rose, to Canada for safety were met with a typical, straightforward response, "The girls will not go without me, I won't leave without the King and, of course, the King will never leave." That was a decision that would be forever remembered and held up decades later as a shining example of loyalty, commitment and service.

Elizabeth spent her days boosting morale. She visited factories and hospitals, toured camps, visited the troops and took time to visit the East End of London after it was damaged by constant German bombing. Amid the fears that England would be invaded, she asked for and received pistol lessons. When Buckingham Palace itself was bombed,

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