opinion

'Australia shouldn't become a republic when the royals have been so great for us.'

We’re currently in the grip of an intense royal fever, with Prince Harry and his new wife, Meghan Markle, on an Australian tour AND sharing the news that they’re expecting their first baby in spring, news that comes hot on the tail of the second royal wedding this year (of the less well known and less popular cousin, Eugenie).

But while Australians are thirstily drinking in every ounce of gossip the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have to throw our way, a recent independent poll has revealed that we are overwhelmingly in favour of abandoning the monarchy and becoming a republic.

Young people are leading the calls for change; with 58.6 per cent of 25-34 year olds polled agreeing that Australia should have an Australian head of state. While the reasons floated by the Australian Republican Movement are convincing, as a “young person” (I fall into the age group above), I want to make a case for remaining a part of the monarchy. Hear me out.

1. We’re in good (amazing, really) company.

As a Commonwealth nation, we’re like a cosy little family with the likes of Canada and New Zealand.

Do we really want to abandon Jacinda and Justin like this?

2. If we seek independence, we will be in… not good company.

I’m looking at you, USA.

3. The Queen as head of state is largely symbolic.

Whenever we discuss (fight to the death) about a Republic vs. Monarchy in our house, my husband, a staunch republican, likes to mention that the royal family can take our livestock at any time. While they technically probably can, I don’t lie in bed at night worrying that Prince Charles is going to take the crown and claim possession of my elderly Maltese x Shih-Tzu or my tabby cat. And I worry about a lot of crazy things when I’m lying in bed.

My point is, when is the last time Lilibet interfered in Aussie politics?

4. But maybe she should.

How stable is our government? Did you know that medical personnel no longer use the “who is the current and last Prime Minister?” question as a means of ascertaining whether you’ve suffered a brain injury BECAUSE NO ONE KNOWS. True story, I once failed this test following an accident because I forgot that Kevin Rudd became PM a second time for about five minutes after Julia Gillard and before Tony Abbott. I actually argued it with the doctor: “Fuck off! He did not.”  

My kids aren’t ready to cross the road by themselves yet, and I just don’t think these guys are ready for the responsibility of being properly in charge just yet.

5. The Royal Family are so relatable.

After all, don’t we all have an aunt who did a thing and is no longer welcome at Christmas lunch?

They weren’t always relatable though. In fact, they used to be the standard that one should aspire to (or that was the idea). Now, they’re marrying commoners, divorcees, making unfortunate fancy dress choices, getting their toes sucked by random men who aren’t their husbands, and trying to sell their ex’s dirty secrets to News of the World, just like the rest of us.

If you think it’s just the young generation of royals who are (trying to be) more relatable, you’d be mistaken. The Queen herself (reportedly) drinks champagne like it’s going out of fashion, and wears Essie nail polish. Same.

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She also has super cute and subtle ways of showing Donald Trump that she doesn’t like him.

And Prince Philip, the Queen’s 97-year-old husband, is literally everyone’s embarrassing (and racist) grandpa.

6. The Royal Family actually do a lot of amazing work. 

My earlier points were in jest, but seriously, we don’t even hear about most of the great work the royals do for charity.

Harry, Meghan, William, and Kate are passionate supporters and advocates of mental health care and awareness, coordinating the Heads Together campaign which aims to end stigma and change the conversation around mental health issues.

Prince Harry also founded the Invictus Games; an international sporting event in which wounded, injured or sick armed services personnel and veterans can take part in sports, including wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, and indoor rowing. He has said in the past that his objective is ensuring their service to their country is not forgotten. (Harry also served in active duty in the army in Afghanistan.)

It goes well beyond the younger generation too. Princess Anne, the Queen’s only daughter, has regularly taken out the honour of being the hardest working royal, while her brother Prince Charles comes in a close second.

“Work” for these royals isn’t just being seen at public events (although this is a large part of it). Princess Anne, like her mother, is a keen equestrian (she even competed in the Olympics!), and supports Riding for the Disabled charities, while also working as president of Save the Children.

I know what you’re thinking.

“Lots of ordinary people support charities without being royalty!”

You’re so right. But there’s no denying that the profile and popularity of the royal family, particularly the young dukes and duchesses, bring a level of attention to charities that they otherwise wouldn’t have.

And think about it; when you’re born into the royal family, you can’t climb any higher on the social ladder (unless you’re competitive about the order of succession). With no worries about money or supporting themselves and their families, it makes sense that these people are literally bred to serve the people.

Politicians are also supposed to serve their electorates, however the allure of power and status is corrupting.

I’m not ignoring or denying the fact that the British Monarchy has a, frankly, really f*cking dodgy and awful history (see: imperialism, settler colonialism etc.).

And while Republicans make good points about how power and leadership should be merit-based and leaders elected by the people, rather than a birthright, Australian parliament is far from a meritocracy.

I just don’t think we’re ready to become a republic.

And how good’s The Crown?

Long live the Queen.

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