King Charles III plans Australia tour next spring

A well-placed source in the Albanese government, who asked not to be named so they could discuss the prospective visit, said the trip by the King and the Queen to Australian shores had not yet been formally confirmed by Buckingham Palace.

“It would be next October, it’s very possible it will happen. It would be around the time of CHOGM that he would come, either before or after, that would make sense” that source said.

The parliamentary sitting schedule for 2024 has a week-long break either side of the CHOGM meeting to allow time for King Charles and Queen Camilla to travel to Australia without interrupting the sitting calendar.

Last week during a visit to Australia, Tom Parker Bowles, the son of Queen Camilla, told The Age and Sydney Morning Herald that the King was due to visit Australia next year.

“He’s coming next year, I think,” he said. When questioned more closely, he then confirmed that he “really didn’t know” any details of a proposed itinerary.


“There’s always a royal tour somewhere. I always assumed that Australia was a very important place to visit.”

A spokesman for Governor-General David Hurley referred questions about the royal visit to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. The department declined to comment.

As the Australian head of state, the King has a standing invitation to visit here.

It would be Charles’ first visit since 2018, when, accompanied by Camilla, then Duchess of Cornwall, he opened the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

The Queen and Prince Philip at the 1963 Melbourne Cup.Credit: Age Archives

NSW is keen to host a royal visit next year to mark the 200th anniversary of the establishment in 1823 of the NSW Legislative Council and for the opening of a square on Sydney’s Macquarie Street named after Queen Elizabeth.

There is speculation in racing circles that Charles, who became King of the United Kingdom and Australia in September 2022 when his mother Queen Elizabeth II died, could attend the Melbourne Cup at Flemington on November 5 or the King Charles III Stakes at Royal Randwick on October 12.

There is concern in the royal household over how to deal with republican sentiment in Australia, which is among 14 Commonwealth countries, in addition to the United Kingdom, where he is head of state.

At CHOGM in Rwanda last year, before his mother’s death, Charles told leaders that keeping the Queen as head of state was “a matter for each member country to decide”.

Royal officials will monitor if crowds turn out for Charles and Camilla in the same way they did for the Queen’s final visit to Australia in 2011.

Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales, visit Newcastle, NSW, in 1983.

Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales, visit Newcastle, NSW, in 1983.Credit: Getty

Conservation will play a key role in any royal visit. Australia’s coronation gift to Charles was a $10,000 donation to help save one of the world’s rarest bird species, the western ground parrot, also known as the kyloring.

Any royal visit would involve the local charities closely associated with the King, including the Australian Conservation Foundation, the Royal Flying Doctor Service, The King’s Trust and Variety Australia.

King Charles’ first trip as monarch will come after 16 previous trips, 15 of which were accompanying or representing his mother. Queen Elizabeth visited Australia 16 times between 1954 and 2011.

Charles first visited Australia as a 17-year-old student in 1966 when he completed two terms at Geelong Grammar’s Timbertop campus. His first visit representing the Queen was one year later at the funeral of Prime Minister Harold Holt.

Prince Charles as a schoolboy at Timbertop in Victoria in 1966.

Prince Charles as a schoolboy at Timbertop in Victoria in 1966.Credit: Archive

When Charles visited Australia in 1977 as part of the Royal Silver Jubilee celebrations, he was interviewed on ABC music program Countdown by presenter Ian “Molly” Meldrum, who famously lost his composure.

In 1983, Charles and his former wife Diana, Princess of Wales spent 40 days in Australia and New Zealand along with their baby son Prince William.

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