Thursday, 23 April 2015

Royals in Medals: Prince Philip's New Order

Prince Phillip's insignia
It's been quite a while since I made a Royals in Medals post and I recently received a slight rebuke for not mentioning the controversy over the Duke of Edinburgh's appointment as a Knight of the Order of Australia.

The controversy is down to three points.

First, there is the political dispute over the grade of Knight/Dame itself.  When the Order was created in February 1975 (under a Labor government), the Order consisted of three grades: Companion, Officer and Member.  Just under a year later (under a Liberal government) the grade of Knight/Dame and the Medal of the Order were created, only for it to be abolished in March 1986 (under a Labor government).  In 2014 the Liberal Prime Minister Tony Abbott recommended to the Queen that the grade be re-established, and Letters Patent were issued to that effect.  As one can quickly guess from these to-ings and fro-ings, the whole matter is tied up in party politics: the Labor Party has said it will again abolish the grade when it is next elected.

Secondly, there is the matter of the announcement of Prince Phillip's appointment.  The announcement itself was made on Australia Day, 26 January,  2015: this was the first that senior government ministers had heard of the matter and they felt aggrieved to be included in the backlash (and ridicule) which followed Mr Abbott's unilateral action.  The upshot is that A.bbott was forced to relinquish the Prime Minister's power of patronage in the Order - which is now held by an independent body.

The third point is a more fundamental one.  The criteria for appointment to the Knight grade of the Order is 'extraordinary and pre-eminent achievement and merit of the highest degree in service to Australia or to humanity at large'.  Does the Prince meet that criteria for his long service as consort to the Queen of Australia?

All questions aside, the Queen presented the Duke with the insignia of the knighthood on 22 April.



...having first checked it was genuine.


11 comments:

  1. I never know order medals could be so political.

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    1. Oh yes! That's even before you start considering 'cash for honours' or 'people being given a gong just for doing their jobs' or (in the UK) people turning down appointments to the Order of the British Empire because of it's title.

      Australia has a strong republican movement.

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    2. Australia also can't believe that we have a government that can't deliver a 21st century broadband network but *can* reinstitute a medieval honours system.

      All I can say is that I didn't vote for them.

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    3. One would be of universal benefit but would cost billions of dollars; the other is an empty gesture which costs a few thousands. Which do you except your government would choose?

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  2. Yep! Most folks down under thought making the Duke a Knight of Australia was a mighty daft idea.

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  3. The Royal Family are increasingly irrelevant. Who cares about this? What did the jumped up prat do to deserve this medal?
    Long. Live the Republic. More and more of us in the UK and around the world feel like this. Charles is in line next, hhhmmmm Charles the Turd, sorry Third.

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    Replies
    1. If you don't care, you don't have to read these posts. And certainly, nobody's forcing you to go to the trouble to post comments.

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    2. Sounds like damned leveller prattle to me! Heresy!

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  4. High Commissioner Alexander Downer in attendance; I hope he wore his FORMAL fishnets!

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  5. I am very glad that this highest level of the Order has been reinstated, and that the approval of awards is now appropriately in the hands of an apolitical body.

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  6. How does the Queen present PP with a medal? It seems a little awkward - "I say, darling, here's a gong for you." "I say, thank you, darling, just the thing." Then would they peck each other on the cheek or shake hands?
    The awarding of medals can be very political, as anyone who has served in a military can tell you.

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