Media poke fun at Gillard's 'discurtsy'

By Kathy Marks

A row over Julia Gillard's failure to curtsy to the Queen showed no sign of abating yesterday, with the Australian media contrasting her behaviour with that of a little girl who greeted the monarch with a "perfect curtsy".

Madison Sporer held her pink dress with both hands and dropped delicately before the Queen as she approached her on the banks of Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra.

Smiling sweetly, the little girl presented her with a hand-made card, which she later explained contained "a picture of the Queen in her palace dress".

Yesterday's newspapers prominently displayed photographs of Madison curtsying, accompanied by headlines such as "Look, Julia, this is how you do it: Girl shows PM how you greet the Queen".

They also contrasted the Prime Minister's greeting - she bowed her head and shook the Queen's hand when the royal couple arrived in Canberra this week - with that of the Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, who met the Queen for the second time on Wednesday.

Bryce "bent her knees one more time for Her Majesty", reported News Ltd papers, when the monarch officially received her at Government House.

As thousands more well-wishers prepared to greet the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh during another full day of engagements in Canberra yesterday, former Prime Minister Paul Keating revealed that he told the Queen 18 years ago that Australians "felt the monarchy was an anachronism".

Keating, the main political impetus behind the republican campaign that culminated in a failed referendum in 1999, made the comment during a meeting at Windsor Castle in 1993, he wrote in a new book, After Words, which is being serialised in the Australian.

Dubbed the "Lizard of Oz" by the British tabloids after he placed a guiding hand on the Queen's back when she visited Australia in 2002, Keating also wrote that he told her that once Australia became a republic, her future visits to the country would be "more celebratory".

That prospect, however, seems more remote than ever, with support for a republic reportedly at a 20-year low and enthusiastic crowds turning out this week to welcome the royal couple.

Yesterday, the Queen was due to meet Gillard, followed by Opposition leader Tony Abbott, at Government House for private conversations with the two politicians.

Abbott, a keen monarchist, observed: "The Queen has had almost 60 years on the throne. She's seen Opposition leaders and Prime Ministers come and go.

"If she wants to give me a little bit of her wisdom and experience, I'll be very grateful to receive it."

Prince Philip was due to attend a reception for his Duke of Edinburgh youth award before he and the Queen headed to Parliament House for an official reception.

On the curtsy row, the official royal website states that while many people like to observe the traditional forms of greeting, others "prefer simply to shake hands in the usual way".

- NZ Herald

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