Rebecca takes Rhodes to royalty

AUSTRALIA'S first indigenous Rhodes scholar did not have time to get nervous before meeting Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, in London.

One minute Rebecca Richards was chatting with Australian high commissioner Mike Rann and the next she was shaking hands with the royal couple.

Ms Richards, 25, met the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall on Wednesday at a Clarence House reception for past and present winners of the British Australian of the Year awards.

The South Australian scholar was named Young Australian Achiever of the Year in Britain on January 26.

The reception was Ms Richard's first meeting with royalty.

''I'm really impressed they know so much about Australia and they take an active interest,'' she said.


Asked the curliest of questions on such an occasion - whether she considered herself a republican - Ms Richards answered with aplomb: ''I think Australia will eventually become a republic, definitely, but I'm not sure when or how.''

Ms Richards said it was a great honour to be recognised for her work,which examines how Aboriginal stories are told through art.

At Oxford University, she is investigating colonial representations of Aboriginal people, while also organising exhibitions back home at the National Museum of Australia.

This year's winner of the Australian of the Year in Britain award went to milliner Frederick Fox. Mr Fox, 81, crafted more than 350 hats for the Queen over a 34-year period and received his royal warrant in 1974. He is widely recognised as the founder of the fascinator.