Okay, so I’m an unapologetic monarchist – as longtime readers will be aware – but surely even the most diehard republican would have to concede that there’s nothing quite to equal a royal wedding. Not just a royal wedding, but a British royal wedding, as nobody does pageantry or pomp and circumstance as convincingly at the Brits.
And at a time when most rural thoughts across eastern Australia are dwelling on the worsening drought, falling stock prices, water wars and other grim realities, how refreshing it was to get away from it all for a few hours of royal fairy tale last Saturday night.
Mind you, the fairy tale at one stage looked like becoming more of a horror story as the fire-and-brimstone American preacher, the Most Reverend Michael Curry, threatened to steal the show with his theatrical tirade.
I couldn’t help wondering what was going through the Duke of Edinburgh’s mind (for one!), as the worthy bishop expounded at length on the power of love, with passing references to slavery and other themes not generally invoked in royal matrimonial homilies.
That, and the contribution to the service by a gospel choir, certainly shook the venerable foundations of the august St George’s Chapel, and caused some rolling of aristocratic eyes.
Perhaps at least the preacher’s fiery blessing might save Harry and Meghan’s marriage from the curse that destroyed four of the six royal marriages of the previous two Windsor generations!
Whatever one’s opinion of our splendidly enduring 92-year-old sovereign, or her problematic son and presumed successor, the emergence on the royal stage of the next generation would appear to offer new hope for the future of the “firm”.
In Prince William and Prince Harry we have two personable, intelligent and articulate young men who share a commitment to public duty and to carrying on the good works of their forebears. Prince Harry proved himself in the army and now settled into married life, sees his role largely as helping strengthen the ties of the 53 member nations of the British Commonwealth.
And as a senior member of that polyglot global “club”, Australia can expect to be seeing plenty of the new royal couple (starting with the Invictus Games in Sydney later this year), which surely can’t augur well for the local republican cheer squad.
It’s not a case of our continued monarchical status “binding us to Britain” but rather endowing us with a model of government that has served us well, and spared us the upheavals that have attended presidential changeovers in other countries.
The comforting aspect of our monarchical system, apart from its richness of 1000 years of tradition, is not the “power” – such as it is – that is vested in the monarch, but the power, and potential divisiveness, thereby denied to an elected or appointed president.