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Sibling Revelry

When your oldest sibling reaches a significant milestone - in this case, turning 70 years of age - and pays you the great honour of inviting you to speak at his birthday shindig, you really have no option but to go all out. Especially when you fair dinkum love the guy like a brother.

And when you discover those birthday celebrations are going to coincide with the coronation of our Head of State, he being the monarch of the very country where said brother was born seven decades earlier, then it turns out some further timely research just might pay handsome dividends.

Hi everyone.

I'll be speaking to you all a little bit later on in more detail about our guest of honour but, before we get to that, there's a remarkable concurrence of history occurring this weekend, and I think we really do need to give it due recognition right up front.

Now as most of you would have appreciated there are a couple of very important events taking place on opposite sides of the globe over this same 24-hour period. One involves the anointing of a distinguished and well-credentialled septuagenarian, who hails from a renowned family with a colourful past; an event that was expected to have in attendance some of the most photogenic and important people on the planet. The other, of course, is merely the coronation of King Charles III.

If we dig a little deeper it seems this “coincidence” of timing is, in fact, entirely appropriate.

Let’s start with the obvious stuff.

As many of you would be aware, both our guest of honour here today and the recently crowned King were born in England in the aftermath to World War Two.

And I’m sure almost all of you would have noted at some point in time that both of their family names contain 7 letters. And that, indeed, both names observe the following pattern – consonant, vowel, consonant, the letter D, consonant, vowel, concluding with the letter R.

1952 and 1953 were of course very significant years for both families – with the death of Charles’ grandfather, King George VI, in February 1952 leading to the coronation of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, at Westminster Abbey in June 1953, whilst the marriage of

John Pruen Cordner and Gwendolyn Aldyth Reed at St Michael and All Angels Church in Bedford Park, London in late June 1952 led even more speedily to the world catching its first sight of Robert Ian Cordner on 2 May 1953. (Yes, that’s right, barely ten months after his parents’ nuptials had been concluded).

Both Charles and Ian would, as first borns, find themselves, as the years passed, gazing and doting upon three cherubic younger siblings.

Both would in due course attend the same secondary schools as their fathers; however, it's also the case that, in 1966, both would simultaneously be students at competing private schools in this great state of Victoria, Australia.

Following their graduation from high school, both would be admitted to Trinity College – albeit Charles at Cambridge University, and Ian at the University of Melbourne.

Oh, and of course, one mustn’t overlook the fact that, throughout their youth, both men were amorously linked by a fascinated public, hungry for salacious gossip, with a succession of attractive and eligible young women.

And if that’s not enough to prove my point consider these additional facts:

Both Ian and Charles would marry in the months leading up to their 33rd birthdays.

Each of those marriages would produce just two children, both boys – all four of whom are now aged in their 30’s.

In each case the younger son was known, from birth onwards, by a name other than that which was formally given to him, and both of those younger sons have, for a number of years, lived in a continent and a country other than that in which they had spent the overwhelming majority of their lives.

I mean you can’t make this stuff up!

Although both Ian and Charles now find themselves on the downhill side of 70, given the history of longevity that is apparent from an examination of their immediate bloodlines the forecasts for their futures are, one would think, pleasantly optimistic.

Now you might think that King Charles has been a pretty busy chap just recently, readying himself for the most significant day of his entire life. And it’s true, he has been. But not too busy, I’m glad to say, to ignore my request that he pen and send a special personal message to my Big Brother in recognition of him reaching the big 7-0 this week.

So here, for your enjoyment and edification, is that very message.

But before I begin, a quick word of warning: His Royal Highness’ language can get a little ... fruity at times, so if you’re easily offended you might want to block your ears.


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