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The BBC's Royal Correspondent Jennie Bond
"There's still enough interest in her"
 real 28k

Sunday, 19 March, 2000, 05:28 GMT
Didgeridoo serenade for Queen

The Queen is on a two-week visit
The Queen has been greeted by an Aboriginal didgeridoo player and a 1,000-strong crowd while attending morning prayers during her visit to Australia.

A crowd cheered the Royal couple as they attended Sunday morning prayers in Canberra.

At the start of the church service, Aborigine Robert Slockee, wearing a bright red loin cloth, played the didgeridoo before the altar.

The player, who said he was "quite nervous" before playing, said he thought the didigeridoo gave the Anglican church service a distinctive Australian feel.


The Queen greets didgeridoo player Robert Slockee
The Queen greets didgeridoo player Robert Slockee
After the service, during which Prince Philip read the Second Lesson from Mark's Gospel, the Queen told Mr Slockee: "It was very good and it was very interesting to hear it played."

And Prince Philip added: "Is there anything inside that tube?"

"No, you play it with your mouth and lungs," said the 25-year-old Aborigine, whose face was painted with white clay.

"I learned to play it on a vacuum cleaner pipe at home!"

"I hope it wasn't switched on," the Duke said.

Despite the warm reception at St Paul's Anglican Church security was tight, following an alert 30 minutes before the royal arrival.

Tea towel support

A loud fire cracker sent police rushing towards bushes close to the church, but it turned out to be a prank and false alarm.

Although Australia's Prime Minister John Howard had warned the Queen to expect a lukewarm reception, some of the crowd waved pro-monarchy banners.

It is just four months since voters narrowly rejected the idea of scrapping the Queen as Head of State, and turning the country into a republic.

Fifty years on since her first visit, Her Majesty was greeted with women from the Australians for Constitutional Monarchy group waved tea towels declaring their allegiance.

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18 Mar 00 | Asia-Pacific
Protests at Queen's Australian visit
07 Jan 00 | UK
Queen to visit Australia
02 Nov 99 | Asia-Pacific
Queen or country?
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