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Celebration of Their Majesties, Government House


This is Ngunnawal Country. Today we are all meeting together on this Ngunnawal Country. We acknowledge and pay our respects to the Elders.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is a great delight to welcome you to Government House for a celebration of the Coronation of His Majesty The King and Her Majesty Queen Camilla.

Whilst in London, I had the opportunity with the Prime Minister and our High Commissioner to spend time with the 10 Australians chosen to attend the Coronation.

For a small, select group it was also incredibly representative of who we are as a country.

Young and old, First Nations and migrants, performers, community volunteers and scientists.

Devoted to service and selflessly serving others. 

I told them how optimistic I am for the future of our country. 

How could I not be? 

When you look at the incredible breadth of achievement in our community — the selflessness and commitment to others, the unwavering resolve to make a positive contribution, the kindness and the compassion — it is impossible to not be optimistic.

This group of Australians — while larger than those in London — is equally representative of both the country we are today and the country we can be in the future.

Just looking at you today reaffirms that optimism.

Thank you for being here and thank you for what you do in our community.

In the week since the Coronation I’ve reflected on the historic occasion and what it meant, both in the moment and for us all going forward.

The occasion was incredibly compelling. It was historic and celebratory. 

The Coronation reflected 1,000 years of tradition, symbolism and continuity. 

The reaction on the streets was overwhelming, enthusiastic and added a real sense of celebration and joy. To give perspective of the scale: it took Linda and me almost two hours to get from Westminster Abbey to our hotel less than a kilometre away.

In my reflections over the last week I’ve kept coming back to one word: service. 

That was the central theme of the Coronation and, I believe, will be the guiding principle of Their Majesties’ reign. 

That is, of course, very much a continuation of the Late Queen Elizabeth’s remarkable legacy. 

It was writ large throughout the Coronation itself. 

Many of the ancient objects featured in the service were created as an objective way to express something abstract — to showcase in a physical form the commitment The King is making to all of us. 

To serve and to do so justly, with compassion and with wisdom.

The King understands more than anyone that with authority and power comes responsibility. With responsibility comes service.

While much was made in the lead-up to the Coronation of people pledging their allegiance to The King, really the Coronation was about him pledging himself to us.

He will serve us and do so with kindness, compassion and selflessness.

Celebrating and encouraging volunteering, which I believe will be the driving focus of Their Majesties’ reign, is another manifestation of that abstract concept of service.

We see in this gathering the power of volunteerism and the incredible impact it has in our community. 

It’s a global concept but one very relevant to and reflective of our Australian community.

The other constant theme across the Coronation was The King’s commitment to the Commonwealth.

Commonwealth nations were both represented at the Coronation and central to it. 

I’m often asked what The King and The Queen are like.

In addition to their personal warmth and tireless service, I’m most struck by how well informed and passionately interested they are in what is going on here in Australia and in other nations of the Commonwealth. 

The values — like service — that The King exemplifies are common across Commonwealth nations. They bind us as much as our history does.

They are timeless, reflective of who we are and who we aspire to be. 

Ladies and gentlemen, it is a great delight for Linda and me to welcome you to Government House and to celebrate the Coronation of His Majesty King Charles The Third and Her Majesty Queen Camilla with you.

We look forward to spending time with you this afternoon.