Friday, April 1, 2011

exclusive : HRH Prince Andrew To Be Appointed Governor of NSW

The fun-loving but  troubled British royal HRH Prince Andrew, the Duke of York is to be appointed Governor of NSW by the new premier Barry O'Farrell, taking up his appointment in November this year when the current incumbent Marie Bashir retires.

The official announcement is expected to be made by HRH The Queen when she visits the country in October for the CHOGM conference. And the O'Farrell family and royal family have been linked by an incident from over 140 years ago (see below).

O'Farrell has always said that Government House, perched high above the Opera House with it's sensational views of Sydney Harbour would be rightfully restored as the Governor's home if he won the election. With his convincing win on Saturday when the Coalition swept into power with 68 seats to Labor's 20, the new premier has a mandate to implement most of his policies.

It's been 15 years since former premier Bob Carr closed the Governor's mansion . Since then it's been available for everything-weddings, parties , barmitzvahs and so on. The Coalition has always claimed it was a scandal and the Monarchist's League has been outraged that NSW Governors would live in their own homes rather than the official residence.

Although ex-convict architect Francis Greenaway was originally commissioned to design Government House it was eventually built by English architect  Edward Blore and finished in 1890.

 Blore working in the romantic Gothic style, produced a mock castle which matched the crenellations of the existing nearby Greenway stables. The new building immediately became the talk of the town and helped establish the romantic Regency style in residential architecture which became popular in the colony over the next twenty years.

Prince Andrew, a man used to luxury and who has been the butt of numerous scandalous tales in the British media over his association with the New York millionaire Jeffrey Epstein should feel right at home in his new abode. It has style and plenty of space and beautiful gardens for entertaining on a large scale. With maids, butlers and 2 Royal Equerries plus his own staff and several official limousines he will want for nothing.

There are 28 rooms and the large reception area is a richly decorated two-storey hall with a musicians gallery. Government House also reputedly introduced the first modern water closet to Australia. The porte-coche was added in 1873, and the two front rooms extended about 1900. Although there had been earlier proposals (c.1900) to move the vestigial Governor into more modest premises, it was not until 1996 that this finally occurred under the premiership of Carr.

Numerous Royals have stayed there in the past including The Queen and Prince Phillip and Prince Charles and Diana when they were together and Pope Benedict slept there for 2 nights in 2008.

Jane & Sarah
It's been long rumoured amongst royal circles in the UK that Andrew would have to packed off somewhere sensible to re-create his crumbling public image. A spell as Governor of NSW for the normal 4 year appointment would seem the ideal solution.

And he should feel right at home. Sister-in-law Jane Ferguson lives a short drive away in Bondi and ex-wife Fergie is a regular visitor.

There are plenty of nightclubs and attractions for the Andrew's fun loving daughters should they visit and if Andy wants a casual drink there's always the Lord Dudley pub in Woolahra, a favourite of Prince Harry.

Andrew's appointment follows in a tradition of packing off Royals to the colonies for further education and royal duties.

a depiction of the attempted assassination: National Gallery

1867 visit of Queen Victoria's son Prince Alfred to Australia was the first by a member of the British Royal family and was tumultuous, to say the least.

It produced an outpouring of national exaltation and then of national shame following an assassination attempt on the Prince.

 On 12 March 1868 an  ancestor of the new premier-Henry James O'Farrell shot the Prince in the back at a public function in Clontarf, Sydney. O'Farrell was immediately arrested, and was convicted and hanged on 21 April that same year.