25 June 2009

In the Name of Freedom

The picture to your left is of a couple of people you may know something about. Which of them do you believe has experienced most freedom? What does freedom mean to you?

The photograph was taken at Australia's Parliament House in Canberra in 2007. The portrait in the background was painted quite a while before that.

Via is wearing a reasonably new white tee-shirt and a ten-year-old black jacket she bought at a bargain price in a department store. Elizabeth is wearing a rather more expensive outfit.

The painting of Elizabeth is a lovely one nevertheless. Via calls it The Wattle Blossom Lilibet. Elizabeth likes the portrait too. Via has never had her own portrait painted.

Learn more about Sir William Dargie's painting

Visiting Parliament House in Canberra is an interesting experience. Via has been there twice, the first time being in 1988 soon after the new building opened. She has also been to the Houses of Parliament in London a couple of times, and to other centres of governance around the world, including the Knesset in Jerusalem and the United Nations in Geneva and New York.

To publish the above photograph, Via has permission. She contacted visitor services at Parliament House in Canberra and also the Office of the Usher of the Black Road. Thank you to the friendly staff there for being so helpful and understanding.

Learn more about the Parliament of Australia

Learn more about Elizabeth's hereditary role in the governance of Australia

This blog post is on the topic of freedom. I gained permission to publish the photograph. I have had permission to enter several centres of government and have voted in elections on many occasions. I have travelled the world and have studied widely. I can walk around in the town of Dorothea in relative safety and anonymity.

No-one addresses me as Your Majesty. My own taste in addressing people is similar to that of the Quakers. However, the Queen represents a constitutional democracy in which every citizen has a right to be heard and respected. The majesty of that is what her portrait represents to me.

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