Today we celebrate the Queen’s Birthday. I am not entirely sure when her real birthday is, but suffice to say it’s unlikely to fall on the 8th June. I raise a glass to our Queen Liz and am very grateful for a day to spend with my family.
About fifteen years ago debate raged as to whether Australia should become a republic. A referendum was held. Politicians and commentators alike felt that it was time for Australia to assert her independence. That we needed to cut ties with the mother country and stand on our own two ugg-booted feet. It never quite happened, but it felt very near.
In retrospect, we were a little like impatient young adults keen to move out of home. And to be fair, the olds were getting pretty embarrassing. Remember Prince Charles wanting to be Camilla’s tampon? I was less concerned about the affair and more concerned about the lack of poetry. The tabloids, which were much more focussed on royal gossip in the day, gleefully reported all manner of inappropriate behaviour. The relevance of the English royal family seemed limited to fodder for New Idea.
But things have changed. Support for a republic is at a three decade low. It no longer seems essential to cut the apron strings in order to be seen as all grown up. Most Australians would not identify with “Mother England”. My own family is European and I don’t feel a connection to Britain. But I think becoming a republic at this juncture would divert attention for more pressing issues and cost money that could be much better spent.
Besides, somewhere along the way, the royal family became less embarrassing. The princes seem like nice, normal blokes. They don’t appear to be harbouring secret ambitions to become sanitary products at any rate. Princess Catherine manages to be both of the people and above the people. The clothes she wears are deliberately within financial reach – for those with quick online fingers in any case. But the way she looked after giving birth reminded us all of just who wears the princess crown.
Maybe all things English just got a little less daggy. Was it the Keep Calm and Carry On craze? Or when union jacks and British bulldogs moved from naff to ironically cool? Whatever the reason, the monarchists can breathe easy for a while. Right now, Australia has no intention of moving out of home.
And as long as we get a public holiday, I don’t think I mind a wee bit. Now, off to my tea and crumpets.