Lismore City News
Saturday, 2 December 2023

Northern Rivers monarchist mourns Queen Elizabeth II

Cathy Adams
Updated September 14 2022 - 9:38am, first published September 9 2022 - 1:51pm

Looking at the fine china on a shelf, commemorating a lifetime of milestones in the life of Queen Elizabeth II, Linda Barney cried when she heard of the monarch's passing, saying, "she was like everybody's grandma, wasn't she?".

Linda Burney, ardent monarchist

She now lives on the Northern Rivers, but Linda is a Londoner at heart with a very British love of the royal family. She is good at sharing stories, and has many about the Royal family.

Linda Barney with some of royal memorabilia that survived the flood in Coraki. Picture by Cathy Adams
Linda Barney with some of royal memorabilia that survived the flood in Coraki. Picture by Cathy Adams

One story she tells is of her grandmother meeting the Queen Mother in East London after Buckingham Palace was bombed during World War II.


Linda said her grandmother "was very pleased" to meet the royal who showed great compassion and courage, and her family has been pro-royal family ever since.

It is something she believes our leaders of today can learn from as the community struggles with disasters like the flood.

She says the Queen joining the land army when she was a princess endeared her to so many people and was the start of a "big love" for the royal.

The ardent monarchist has seen the Queen four times - twice in England and twice in Australia - and while she laments not having actually met the Queen, she certainly did her best to let Her Majesty know she was there with some boisterous cheering.

"I took my daughters to Canberra when the new Parliament House opened and we sang our hearts out and we waved our little flags. It was so wonderful, I was so happy," Linda said.

She was also in the crowd at the Opera House when Charles and Diana visited in 1983, but "didn't get to see young William".

Linda has celebrated all of the royal milestones - "I had a lovely High Tea when Harry married Meghan" - and has a collection of memorabilia commemorating Queen Elizabeth II's reign.

When flooding swept through the Coraki home of Linda and her husband Bob in February, they lost almost everything.

But not the royal china, much like the Queen, it endured adversity.

The china was found buried beneath a layer of thick mud, and after some arduous cleaning, now takes pride of place in their new home in Kyogle.

She says the passing of the Queen will herald in a new monarchy, a more relaxed monarchy, "less stiff and starchy".

And she believes that is needed as they strive to remain relevant in the 21st Century.

She concedes the younger generations in both Australia and England question how much the royal family costs, and understands calls for a republic in places like Australia.

"If Australia wants to grow up, this is the time. If a republic is part of growing up, then so be it. But do it properly, do it with class, with a bit of style, bit of panache."

While decidedly in camp Diana, and not at all a fan of Camilla, Linda believes King Charles III will be good for the monarchy.

She believes he is "ahead of his time" regarding his views on organic farming, conservation, and preservation of architecture, as well as expressing his political views.

But for now, Linda is remembering the Queen.

"With the Queen, it is like she's like a grandma - she's so dependable, she's so caring, she's everything you want a grandmother type figure to be - she has been that, but she also had the church's finger," she said.

Linda will be watching the Queen's funeral on TV when it's held. She thinks it may well be the last of the big state funerals, but she think's the Queen has earned that for her many years of selfless service, working up until the day she died.

Cathy Adams

Cathy Adams