Bettina Scherer presents the Queen with flowers during her 1954 visit.
Bettina Scherer presents the Queen with flowers during her 1954 visit. Contributed

Dress has fond royal memories

IT WAS 57 years ago that five-year-old Bettina Buss politely handed Queen Elizabeth II a bouquet of fresh Bundaberg-grown gerberas.

It was the monarch's first visit to Bundaberg and thousands of residents packed out the showgrounds for a glimpse of her and the Duke of Edinburgh.

While many years have passed, Bettina - now Mrs Scherer - still clings to the tiny dress she wore during the Queen's visit on March 11, 1954.

"The bows and the sash were blue, but they have faded over time," Mrs Scherer said.

"Apart from that, it is still in pretty good condition."

With blue ribbons in her hair to match her white and blue dress, the five-year-old girl presented the bouquet to the Queen as a huge crowd watched on.

"I remember I had to hold my hand clasped in case she shook my hand," Mrs Scherer said.

"I believe she said, 'thank you, little girl'."

Looking back on the milestone occasion, Mrs Scherer said at the age of five, much of the day's importance was lost on her.

"My father, Fred Buss, was the mayor and that's why I was given the privilege of presenting her with the flowers," she said.

"Everyone was so excited."

Mrs Scherer, 63, of Bargara, said she had plenty of photos to remember the special occasion with and fully appreciate the special opportunity she was granted.

"(The Queen) arrived at the airport and then took a certain route to the showgrounds and all the school kids were in the middle," she said.

"People came from far and wide - from Maryborough and all over the Burnett."

While she did not make it to Brisbane to see the Queen again yesterday, Mrs Scherer said she followed the coverage on the television and

internet.

"I am interested in the royal family," she said.

"I most certainly watched the royal wedding (of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge), much to my husband's horror."

Mrs Scherer said she hoped to hand the dress down to her grandchildren.

"I'm not sure if they will think it's as important as I do," she said.

"I would like to pass it down, though."

The Queen is in Australia for a 10-day visit, during which she will open the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth. She flies out of Australia on Saturday.

 


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