Mark it in your diaries, Australia – the royal wedding has been set down for April 29th. Which gives us all plenty of time to book ourselves into remote destinations without TV, internet or phone coverage. Sure, there’ll still undoubtedly be some schmuck in a plane skywriting “WILLS ♥ KATE” in the pristine blue above us, but it’ll be a lot better than suffering through the endless hype in the media, which is already insufferable, and will only get worse. Just make sure your royal-proof hideaway isn’t Lizard Island off the Queensland coast, as there’s a chance you’ll end up in the very place where the happy couple are honeymooning.
Like anyone with even the smallest smidgin of self-respect, I’ve been a republican for years. Australia’s egalitarianism is one of our finest qualities, and why anyone would oppose extending it to our constitutional arrangements entirely eludes me. Sure, there’s a place for pomp and splendour and majesty, but that place is called London. And more specifically, the future museum at Buckingham Palace. We’ll all be able to visit it someday, just like Versailles, and it will give us a similar sense of disgust at the archaic opulence of monarchy.
The only purpose the royal family has nowadays that wouldn’t be more appropriately performed by a president is appearing on commemorative plates. And really, someone should celebrate the royal nuptials in Greek plate-smashing style, by dropping a bunker-buster bomb on the Franklin Mint warehouse.
But even if you view the royal family as anything more than an obnoxious anachronism, the wedding should be a useful reminder of a few home truths about Australia’s role in the nuptials of its future king – which is to say, precisely none. That’s right – our future ruler is getting married, and it clearly has nothing to do with us. These are two young English people, distant relatives of ours, getting married on the other side of the world. Sure, we might like take a moment to click ‘Like’ on Facebook when Prince William updates his relationship status to ‘Married’, but it’s definitely not worth jumping on a plane.
It has so little to do with us that it’ll be on in the middle of the night, a clear sign that none of us should watch it. And here’s an even bigger one – Britain will get a public holiday to celebrate, and we won’t, even though we both have the same royal family. And it’ll even slightly undermine our own governance – Julia Gillard will probably have to go, wasting several days of valuable independent-negotiating time so she can yawn through a church service. And of course Tony Abbott will be there too, even if he’s not invited.
Now – don’t get me wrong – I quite like Prince William. Along with the Queen, he’s the only member of the royal family who doesn’t make a fool of themselves on a regular basis. (Sure, Anne’s got some gravitas nowadays, but her participation in It’s a Royal Knockout renders her a laughing-stock for life.) And I reckon if William had a choice, he wouldn’t want all this attention.
Look at his choices. He could have married any manner of supermodel or aristocrat, but he’s chosen a mate from uni who’s a “commoner”. He’s spent his time as far away from the spotlight as you can get, working in the military – after all, photographers can’t get onto a base or a navy ship. And he’s currently doing a job where he can genuinely help people as a search-and-rescue pilot – far more impressive than the usual royal turn-up-and-wave-a-bit approach. Best of all, he hates the paparazzi with a burning passion – understandably, given the whole ‘they killed my mother’ thing.
So, since William values his privacy so much that he’s announced a zero-tolerance approach to media intrusion, I’m going to do my bit by resolutely avoiding pictures of them. If none of us wanted to see their photos, the paparazzi would leave them alone, and pick on those who deserve it, like Lindsay Lohan. Let’s make it happen – it can be our wedding present, and we won’t even have to lift a finger. So it’ll be exactly like being a member of the royal family.