A CHARM OFFENSIVE. HUH?
Isn’t it time Charles and Camilla became a foreign curiosity rather than our future King and Queen?
The news today that they will visit five states in six days on their whirlwind tour of the colonies evokes visions of kids five-deep by the roadside, waving their little flags, wilting in the sun, as the monarch flashes by in a pastel blur.
Is there any chance of that happening for Charles and Camilla do you think?
“Royal sources” in the UK certainly hope so. According to the Daily Express today, Charles and Camilla are “to launch a charm offensive to try to win over a sceptical public Down Under.”
“The heir to the throne and his wife are to go on their first joint tour of Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand – three overseas realms where Charles will one day be King.
They are the final group of around 30 countries visited by members of the Royal Family to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee this year.
But Australia presents the biggest potential challenge.
Opinion polls show that while support for the monarchy has shot up since the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge married last year, Charles and Camilla remain unpopular.
In May, an Angus Reid poll of voters in the UK, Canada and Australia found that only 13 per cent of Australians wanted Charles to succeed the Queen.
Only one in three of Australians had a positive view of the Prince, while Camilla’s popularity rating stood at 16 per cent, the lowest of any senior Royal.
Senior royal aides hope that the Duchess’s down-to-earth manner will resonate with Australians and start to win them over during the two-week tour, which begins in Papua New Guinea on November 3.
One royal source said: “There are many, many people in Australia who are genuinely very excited that they’re coming.”
But Australian republicans hope the tour will help reignite a campaign to ditch the monarchy and install an Australian-born head of state.”
Australian children stopped singing God Save The Queen in schools in 1974. Singing about Elizabeth II every day of the school year, (“send her victorious, happy and glorious”) as we gazed up at her re-touched portrait in the school hall, gave a sense of connection to our gracious Queen so that at the very least there was some intrigue when we were forced out onto the streets to wave as she passed by.
Today, the only significant sense of connection we have with the British Royal Family is through the weekly glossies and stories about Kate’s topless bathing and Harry’s pants-down high-jinx in Las Vegas – they get the celebrity treatment, not the royal treatment.
It’s safe to say that here in the overseas realm we are no longer inculcated with their glory.
So does the imminent arrival of Charles and Camilla make you think it’s time for the Republican issue to be put back on the table?
Or perhaps the thought of Kate and William as our future King and Queen is more charming to you?
MORE ARTICLES BY LUCY CLARK
*Lucy (Editor of The Hoopla) is a journalist and editor with almost thirty years experience in newspapers and magazines in Sydney, London, and New York. She has been published in The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, The Daily and Sunday Telegraphs, Vogue Living, Australian Art Review, and Gourmet Traveller. Most recently the Books Editor of the Sunday Telegraph, she has also contributed to the non-fiction books, Australia Through Time, and What Women Want. You can follow her on Twitter: @lucykateclark.