Family rolls out welcome fit for future king and queen
Garth Leggart with his children, Alexander, 4 and a half, and Ingrid, 7, are looking forward to seeing the Prince of Wales Prince Charles and The Duchess of Cornwall Camilla Parker-Bowles when they visit Canberra. Photo: Melissa Adams
Kings and queens, princesses and princes are more than the stuff of fairytales in the Leggatt household.
Dad Garth, is the chair of the ACT branch of the Australian Monarchist League and says his children ''find royalty magical''.
The family will be helping to welcome the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall to Canberra on Saturday, attending each public event - at the renaming of a section of Parkes Place to Queen Elizabeth Terrace on the banks of Lake Burley Griffin and the laying of a wreath at the Australian War Memorial.
Ingrid, 7, and Alexander, 4, will likely see the future monarch, Mr Leggatt believes.
''Charles, I think, will be king and I think Charles will be a very good king. He has been in training for a very long time,'' he said.
''What people don't realise is that he's written a number of books, he's very intelligent and he's been ahead of his time in matters such as the environment. And, importantly, he knows Australia.''
Mr Leggatt, 34, of Stirling, doesn't fit the blue-rinsed stereotype of a royalist. He joined the monarchist league at the tender age of 18, in the lead-up to the referendum on a republic, not convinced a new system could better or even equal the existing one.
He believes the push for a republic is now ''on the backburner''.
''It's really not an issue. It doesn't excite people because I think we really do have a very effective system of government,'' he said.
While this royal visit is to celebrate the Queen's diamond jubilee, her 60-year reign, there was also an eye to the future of the monarchy.
Mr Leggatt said Prince Charles would likely be a ''transitional monarch'', holding the post for a short time ''paving the way for William'', who still needed time.
He said it was now almost unthinkable to expect William to have become the monarch at the age of 25 as his grandmother had done.
And the Queen ''hadn't put a foot wrong since''.
''She didn't choose the position, the position chose her,'' he said. ''I'm sure she would be much happier living out in the countryside sowing potatoes and playing with her dogs.''
The debate over the renaming of a section of Parkes Place to Queen Elizabeth Terrace meanwhile continues.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard approved the renaming of the section running along Lake Burley Griffin on the advice of the National Capital Authority.
An online petition started by Dr Benjamin Jones, a visiting fellow at the Australian National University, has now been signed by 343 people. Dr Jones says the renaming is an ''unacceptable insult'' to the memory of Australia's father of Federation, Sir Henry Parkes.
Authority chief executive Gary Rake said the western section of the road had also been renamed Parkes Place West and the eastern section Parkes Place East. Descendants of Sir Henry had been satisfied with that arrangement.
''The renaming of Queen Elizabeth Terrace complements the names of the adjacent parallel streets Queen Victoria, King Edward and King George Terraces,'' Mr Rake said.
Where to see the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall in Canberra tomorrow:
- Parkes Place on the southern shore of Lake Burley Griffin near the international flag display. Public should be in place no later than 11.30am.
- Australian War Memorial. Public should be in place no later than 3.30pm.
- They will also be attending meetings at Government House from 12.40pm.