Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Princess Anne visiting Queensland

On 21st October HRH Princess Anne arrived in Brisbane to attend the 26th Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth (RASC) at the Royal National Agricultural and Industrial Association of Queensland (RNA) showgrounds.

The RASC conference aims to share ideas about agriculture, food, and the natural environments of Commonwealth members and is the body that unites agricultural show societies from all over the Commonwealth in order to share ideas, knowledge and skills.

Princess Anne took over as president from her father Prince Philip, who founded the society in 1957.

Princess Anne greeted a man on a horse at the Brisbane Royal Show Grounds, on her first of four days attending the Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth (RASC) conference
The Princess Royal praised the conference venue - the redeveloped Royal National Association's facilities at Bowen Hills, which had been "dangling in front of us" for several years.

"So it is a pleasure to be here and to see it in the flesh. And, a big thank you to Queensland and to Brisbane for their hospitality and for being the host society for this the 26th agricultural conference."

She said she was surprised it was the first time that Brisbane had been the host city: "I am actually quite surprised that it is the first time that it has been here given the extraordinary history of Queensland as one of the greatest primary producing areas in the world," she said.

HRH praised Queenslanders' resilience against floods and its record as a world leader in beef and livestock production. "Those of us who live in slightly wetter places on a normal basis I don't think can really quite understand just what drought truly means," she said. "And for that you have huge sympathy."

She acknowledged the state's ability to bounce back after the 2011 floods. "In previous years, there was extraordinary devastation caused by flooding and 2011 was the most recent floods," she said.

RNA President David Thomas is the current vice-president of the RASC, which means he's met with the Princess Royal several times in recent years.

"I think Princess Anne has always been a popular royal, she's very hard-working," he said. "I think she's one of those people who are very approachable; my dealings with her have been completely delightful."

230 delegates from countries including the UK, Canada, Singapore, Zambia, Kenya and Uganda attend the event, as well as interstate show societies and some of the 128 local show societies in Queensland.

Mr Thomas said Brisbane organisers had added in speakers who were experts in areas besides agriculture, such as entertainment programming, social media and volunteer management. "It's a lovely combination of the traditional agriculture with strategic and operational aspects of shows," he said. "Certainly the show movement has been really happy that we've included all those things."

While the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spent just six hours in Brisbane when they visited in April, the Princess Anne will be in town for all four days of the conference.

Her Royal Highness will also spend some time visiting charities and other groups. "She wants to meet everyone who's at this conference," Mr Thomas said. "There's no particular protocol around that, we'll just be walking around and guiding her to different groups so by the end hopefully everyone's met her once. She's a very nice person to talk to, very down-to-earth... she'll be very interested in what people have to say."

Princess Anne is the third royal to visit the RNA showgrounds, after Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII) in 1920, and Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia, in 1954.

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