Here we all are in Australia, the land of Oz. Part of ‘the colonies’. Are you a royalist or a republican? In other words, are you interested in glossy magazine and television coverage of the British royal family, their lives and times?
Some people are royalists. They buy the world of women’s literature, and eagerly pore over the royals. Their fashion, their babies, their weddings, their travels, their ‘scandals’. Their latest photo opportunities, fascinating. Oh, look, a royal baby. A new handsome, rich prince is born. A woman journalist will describe him as a ‘spare heir’ to the royal throne. Cute, but rich.
Are you basically a republican? Do you avoid even thinking about the aristocracy of England? Personally, I do not aim to read such stories. The royal family are only people, but rich, which is okay. Yet, I can read a craft pattern. If I crochet myself a cloche, I will look like Kate Middleton at a Buckingham Palace garden tea party. Some people might consider the royal family are marketing themselves to the paparazzi and all the media. Is it an exercise in excellent public relations?
I’ll tell you a funny tale. As a tubby young girl, growing up in suburban middle Melbourne, I used to borrow books from a nearby free community library. The elderly volunteer librarian doted on her loyal borrower. She would shower me with books, to read about the royal family, especially the heir to the throne.
“One day,” she said, “you can marry Prince Charles, and be queen of England!”
I took the books home, gazing at Prince Charles in a skirt (it was his kilt!), with knobby pale knees and big jug ears (no offence to the royals. I was no oil painting either). There I sat in the colonies! Put me right off early marriage to anyone! So, I began to read science fiction instead; seemed somehow appropriate.
An older male of my acquaintance, born in New Zealand, was fully expected to grow up and wed Princess Anne. We were growing up in the ‘colonies’.
Did you know this? When little Prince George was born, heir to the monarchy of England and the realm, our prime minister of the day, allied with the government of the Northern Territory, donated the new prince a salt water crocodile, born on the same day. Does this represent some inner working of one part of Australian psyche? It could, and did, lead to a verse.
One night, by the light of the moon
A little crocodile egg hatched, doom
This will make you all wince
Oz gave him to a little rich prince
Yes, George’s pal for while
A very hungry crocodile.
Growing up together… but speed dial
This one might make you smile
It is now a large, but very hungry crocodile
On Monday, it ate a corgi
Prince George thought it was funny
On Tuesday, he ate old Prince Phil
George thought he was an old dill
On Wednesday, he ate the queen
Biggest melodrama you’ve ever seen
On Thursday, he ate Camilla
Prince George thought she was Godzilla
This was a very hungry crocodile.
On Friday, he ate all the corgis, with a smile
On Saturday, he ate Prince George, tee hee
On Sunday, he ate the entire royal nursery
Then he ate the rest of the royal family.
That is how ‘Oz’ got rid of the monarchy
A feral pet from ‘the colonies’
Comes from our convict ancestry
Thumbing our noses at authority.
So, many people in Australia, being part of ‘colonial’ cultural heritage, adore the royal family. Still, our early origins as a nation, the battling First Fleet, endowed some part of our psyches with a healthy disrespect of all things royalist. The royals are very rich, very good looking, and very well photographed people. Royalist or republican, it is a long-standing debate in our great nation of Australia.