North's brushes with royalty

While Tasmania missed out this time around, 1963 saw Launceston rendered a ``ghost town'', as Northerners flocked to the state's capital to catch a glimpse of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip.

Launcestonians then had to wait 15 years for their royal experience, with the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh spending ``one hour and 45 minutes'' in the city on March 14, 1977.

Only four years later the pair were back; this time engaging in a 21/2-hour, non-stop Launceston visit, which included a trip to the Launceston Show.

A young Prince and Princess of Wales were next to grace the Apple Isle with their presence on March 30, 1983, as Prince Charles and his wife, Diana, left baby Prince William on the mainland during a two-day tour of the state.

The first day was spent in Hobart, with the second in Launceston, where Charles and Diana met the mayor and mayoress, along with thousands of awe-struck residents in the streets.

Twenty-six years ago this week marked an Anzac-themed visit from the Queen. 

Following an Anzac Day service at the Hobart Cenotaph on the morning of April 25, 1988, the Queen - without Prince Philip by her side - spent the afternoon in Launceston.

The masses greeted a grinning Queen, who arrived in Launceston at 3.05pm, before leaving two hours later.

March 28, 2000, was the date of the royals' last Tasmanian visit.

The Queen and Prince Philip took to the streets of Launceston, with her majesty meeting and greeting residents of all ages, while her husband enjoyed a Boag's Draught at Launceston's Boag's Brewery.

Tasmanian royalist Reg Watson said he remembered all of the royal visits to the state and called Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip's last trip south a stand-out moment.

``One thing that really stood out to me was Prince Philip's naval vessel plaque unveiling at Lindisfarne in Hobart,'' he said.

``I was there when Michael Hodgman greeted the prince, while us supporters of the royal family were made to stand behind a barrier.

``I was a bit surprised by the hypocrisy of it all.''

Mr Watson said while the royal family didn't make its way across Bass Strait this time around, he wasn't surprised Tasmania was excluded from the Australian tour.

``It's obviously a disappointment, but it's understandable,'' Mr Watson said.

``It's a big country. They've been to almost every state.

``I can only hope that next time they'll be in Tassie and I'm sure they will be.''

Royal visit of 1988 - the Queen and Prince Philip leave Launceston.

Royal visit of 1988 - the Queen and Prince Philip leave Launceston.


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