Taxpayers are more likely to foot the invoice for Ben Roberts-Smith to journey to the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II after the previous Australian soldier confirmed he had accepted an invite to attend.
Buckingham Palace has invited Roberts-Smith to attend the funeral and to participate in occasions commemorating the lifetime of the sovereign in recognition of his standing as a winner of the Victoria Cross, together with the three different winners of Australia’s pre-eminent navy honour, Keith Payne, Mark Donaldson and Daniel Keighran.
Roberts-Smith is not going to fly with the prime minister’s official delegation on the RAAF’s VIP jet, however will as an alternative take a business flight to London. Nonetheless, a spokesperson for the Division of Defence confirmed that taxpayers would cowl the price of the flights “upon request” of these invited.
Roberts-Smith instructed the West Australian newspaper, which is owned by the Kerry Stokes-chaired Seven West Media group, it was “a terrific honour to have the ability to be there for this unhappy event”.
“I’ve a really deep respect for Her Majesty and all the things that she has sacrificed in her life and what she has achieved,” he stated. “She has been a powerful monarch, she has been a stoic chief, and importantly she was additionally a stunning woman.”
Stokes has been overlaying the authorized prices for Roberts-Smith’s defamation case.
The defence division confirmed the Victoria Cross and George Cross Affiliation had invited all holders of the Victoria Cross to attend the Queen’s funeral in addition to her mendacity in state, “in accordance with the desires of Her Majesty”.
Roberts-Smith, a former corporal within the SAS, is awaiting a judgment in a defamation case he introduced in opposition to three Australian newspapers.
He’s suing the Age, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Canberra Occasions for defamation over studies he alleges wrongly painting him as a warfare legal and assassin.
The newspapers are defending their reporting as true, together with allegations Roberts-Smith was complicit in six murders whereas deployed to Afghanistan, was a bully, and a perpetrator of home violence. Roberts-Smith denies any wrongdoing.
The Australian Federal Police have performed warfare crimes investigations into allegations in opposition to Roberts-Smith, and have submitted briefs of proof to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions. No fees have been laid.
Roberts-Smith gained his VC for his actions in the course of the 2010 battle of Tizak in southern Afghanistan. He was invested together with his medal by the then governor basic, Quentin Bryce, in 2011, however was additionally invited to an viewers with the late Queen.
Donaldson, who gained his VC in 2009 in Afghanistan, will symbolize Australian recipients of the Victoria Cross and George Cross within the Orders of Chivalry Procession and see Her Majesty mendacity in state.