Queen wears lime green at Commonwealth War Graves memorial
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The Queen paid tribute to the “skill and sacrifice” of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as she marked its centenary during her first public engagement of the year outside Windsor Castle on Wednesday. The 100th anniversary of the RAAF was commemorated by her Majesty during a service at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) Air Forces Memorial in Runnymede, Surrey. It was also the first time the Queen had been seen in public since Harry and Meghan’s controversial interview with Oprah earlier this month, where they made a number of shocking allegations about the Royal Family.
Australian Labor MP and shadow assistant minister for the Republic, Matt Thistlethwaite, however, is now calling for the Commonwealth country’s Constitutional oath of office to be changed so citizens could pick their own head of state.
He added the Royal Family was “out of touch” with the lives of most Australians, despite the Queen’s engagements with the country.
He told Express.co.uk: “The Constitutional oath of office for our elected representatives should be amended to a pledge of allegiance to the people of Australia and the Commonwealth of Australia. It’s as simple as that.
“I think it’s time for Australians to begin a serious discussion about our next head of state.
“The Harry and Meghan interview highlighted just how out of touch the British royal family has become to the lives of most Australians.
“If Harry and Meghan can quit the Royal Family, I don’t see why the Australian people can’t do the same.
“We need to begin a serious discussion about recognising our independence and maturity, the fact that we govern ourselves make our own decisions, and we should reflect that by having one of our own as a head of state.
“At the end of the day, Australia’s future has very little to do with the British royal family.
“I think that the time has come for us to once again begin that serious discussion, for our political leaders to put this back on the agenda and start discussing with the Australian people how we might make a sensible transition, through an education campaign, a campaign around a referendum, and then ultimately appointing one of our own as our of head of state.”
The Queen is head of state for 16 Commonwealth nations around the world, including Australia.
Her Majesty does not get involved in the day-to-day business of the Australian Government as she is a constitutional monarch.
But she is still part of ceremonial and symbolic aspects of Australian culture, which Prince Charles will then take on as well when he becomes King.
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Buckingham Palace reassured royal fans last year that the Queen had no intention of stepping down from her role after she kept out of the public eye due to the covid pandemic.
During her engagement on Wednesday, she spoke to one Australian serviceman about his work with Typhoon jets and asked if they were “being sent off to chase the Russians?”
She was then told: “That’s correct, ma’am, it’s a lot of fun for us!”
The Queen also wrote in a foreword to the order of service: “As one of the oldest air forces in the world, it is fitting to pay tribute to the efficiency, skill and sacrifice of the men and women who have served in its ranks, in Australia and overseas, during the past 100 years.
“Throughout my reign, the Royal Australian Air Force has shown immense dedication to duty and has defended our freedom in many conflicts around the world.”
Meanwhile, Harry and Meghan’s involvement with the Commonwealth will now change after they quit as senior royals last year.
Meghan will no longer be patron of the Association of Commonwealth Universities as she was stripped of her titles and patronages alongside Prince Harry last month.
Meghan and Harry claimed one unnamed member of the family had raised “concerns” about how dark their son Archie’s skin might be to chat show host Oprah.
She later confirmed that Harry had told her it was not the Queen or her 99-year-old husband Prince Philip who made the remark about Archie’s skin tone after their CBS interview was aired.
Meghan also mentioned the Commonwealth during the interview as she explained why the comment about Archie’s skin tone had shocked her.
She said: “The Commonwealth is a huge part of the monarchy, and I lived in Canada, which is a Commonwealth country, for seven years.
“But it wasn’t until Harry and I were together that we started to travel through the Commonwealth, I would say 60 percent, 70 percent of which is people of colour, right?”
Buckingham Palace also issued a rare statement in response to Meghan and Harry’s interview by promising to “address” the “concerning” allegations, particularly the claims another royal had raised “concerns” about Archie’s skin colour before he was born.
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