The Queen Mother intervened to try to rescue a British girl who was deported to Australia as a child migrant after her foster mother begged the royal family for help to bring her home.
Now 71, Marcelle O’Brien shook her head in disbelief as the national child abuse inquiry was told how repeated attempts to return her were made by her foster mother, a woman who had brought her up for four years and had never wanted her to be taken to Australia.
Newspaper cuttings from the UK and Australia in the early 1950s – when Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, was on the throne – were shown to the hearing in central London. They described how villagers from the foster mother’s home in Lingfield, Surrey, at one point raised money to pay for the little girl’s passage home.
Newspaper clippings of O’Brien being interviewed as a young girl in Western Australia, at a Fairbridge Society school, were also shown to the inquiry as the story of the appeal made news in the British colony….