Although I would welcome the throwing off of the shackles that bind us to Mother England, the visit of Prince William shows that maybe we aren’t ready to become a republic.
I find royal visits tedious. The last royal visit I got excited about was in 1983, when Charles and Diana toured. But then I was only ten or eleven.
Nowadays, whenever I hear the words “royal visit” I feel a creeping lethargy. I imagine the tedious things The Royal will be required to do – shake hands, meet dignitaries, cuddle a kiwi, face a Maori challenge, dodge a handful of cranky protesters, all while saying how lovely we are.
We don’t need the royal family. Nor do we need to remain bound to England in the way we are. And I say that having lived in the UK for almost three years. We are an independent nation at the other end of the world, so our subservience to the Queen is baffling.
But, as William’s visit appears to show, my view is a minority one. His visit has been the main local news story for the last two days. Crowds have gathered everywhere he has gone, and he has charmed those he has met. If I hear another radio or TV interview of someone gushing about how “cool” or “lovely” the prince is I may well scream (although to paraphrase, in the blogosphere no one can hear you scream).
The popularity of the royals may change when the current monarch dies. Elizabeth II has been around for so long that it is hard to imagine a world without her. However, her son Charles is unfashionable and his celebrity status is diminished by his unfortunate looks. His appearance shouldn’t matter, but it does. His two sons are photogenic and have spent many years adorning the front pages of woman’s magazines. Maybe that is why people adore them and not their father. Just as they adored Diana. But as William and Harry get older their appeal may well recede along with their hairlines and youthful good looks. Unless one of them marries someone pretty and fashionable there could be trouble ahead for the Windsors.
And maybe then we will get the republic we need. And if we are looking for a President – well, let’s just say I would be honoured if asked.