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Queen Elizabeth II arrives in Australia

CANBERRA, Oct 19 – Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II arrived in Australia on Wednesday for her 16th tour Down Under, and one that may be her last.

The queen, who is travelling with her husband Prince Philip, arrived at Canberra’s RAAF Fairbairn base, where hundreds of people were waiting for her, on a British Airways jet flying her personal Australian royal standard.

The queen emerged from the plane wearing a teal-coloured coat and hat and was greeted by the country’s first female Governor-General Quentin Bryce and Welsh-born Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

A military band played God Save the Queen and a 21-gun salute rang out before the 85-year-old monarch inspected the ceremonial royal guard made up of army, navy and air force personnel.

The Queen first visited Australia in 1954, becoming the first reigning monarch to come to the far-flung former British colony. Some expect that the 2011 tour will be her last.

Among those greeting her Wednesday was Margaret Cunningham who as a young child presented the queen with a bouquet of flowers on her first visit to Australia 57 years ago.

The queen is in Australia for a 10-day visit during which she will open the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth and visit Canberra, Melbourne and Brisbane.


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