Watching Prince Charles potter around Australia this week, it struck me that he’s got quite a bit in common with opposition leader Tony Abbott.
They both perform well in front of the cameras: charming, crooked smiles; friendly, if slightly goofy demeanours.
But when it comes time to open their mouths: Blah. Blah. Blah.
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Prince Charles has been ridiculed or reviled for so long that it has been widely assumed that when his Mum shuffles into the sunset the republican debate will renew itself amid alarm at the prospect of his ascension to the throne.
Charles cops it from all directions. Lefties don’t like him simply because he is a Royal, and represents the undemocratic traditions of his unelected, filthy-rich family, the same family which absurdly enough provides Australia with its Head of State.
Right-wingers don’t like him because he is a bleeding heart, with his ruminations about the beauty of the Islamic faith, his strong views on architecture and heritage, his passionate environmentalism and his advocacy of renewable energy.
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During the story on the news last night about the Royal visit to PNG The Punch noticed three different outfits, and that was just for Charles. How many suits does one man need?
Charles and Camilla kick off their Australian tour today in Longreach, QLD, where they’ll be visiting the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame. It will be hot.
It’s Monday. How many changes of clothes will you make today?
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When Prince Charles visited Australia in March, 2004, he boarded a large military helicopter in Canberra and flew to Gunning, a small town near Goulburn, NSW, where he spent the morning visiting some kind of organic farm. It made for a great story on ABC Radio’s Country Hour, but didn’t exactly resonate with the wider community.
Compare that to Prince William, whose tour de disaster zone this week has been an absolute tour de force. When necessary, Will has overstepped the bounds of protocol, hugging the commoners as the mood struck him. He was also professionally standoffish as required, most notably when he wisely declined to answer a bystander’s question about recalcitrant insurers.
It’s a gift, this business of playing the people’s royal. Will’s mother Diana had it. His father Charles doesn’t. And given that pretty much the only reason the royal family still exists is to pep up the public spirit, there’s only one conclusion – and that’s that William should be the next British Monarch.
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He’s finally done it. After nine years together, approximately 76 fascinators and most of Will’s head of hair, the second in line to the throne has managed to get down on bended knee and give his long-time girlfriend one hell of a sparkler (12 carats in fact).
It propels Kate Middleton, long the fodder of the voracious paparazzi pack and Hello! devotees, well and truly into the global spotlight.
And it is today that the work really begins for Catherine Middleton. She faces perhaps the most daunting and dramatic transformations, to somehow deftly emerge from the shadow of one the most iconic, albeit neurotic, personalities of the 20th century.
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Harry M Miller’s revelation that Prince Charles wondered why Australia remained a constitutional monarchy will come as no surprise to those of us who have been reporting on and watching the British royals for some time.
If there’s one thing that senior members of the royal family detest it’s the fawning and groveling of those they meet, and Australia heads the list of major offenders in that department.
As an example, some years ago the Queen decided that the last century habit of women dropping a curtsy was no longer necessary but the individuals could continue to bend the knee if it made them happy.