There is something oddly reassuring to see the Australian media swoon in intoxicated concert with New Zealand’s before the visiting royals. Amid the adulation, however, there are a few dissenting voices.
The Queensland Sunday Mail convulses delightedly at the sight of “the rock stars of royalty”. Its editorial argues “diehard Republicans will increasingly find it more difficult to convince Australians to cut ties with the royals. Prince William and his beautiful wife Kate are the modern-day royals.”
The public joy and outpouring of affection for the royal couple and their little son has been extraordinary, although not unexpected. They truly are the rock stars of royalty …
But William and Kate have given the royals a fresh, contemporary feel. Kate is an inspiration to young women, while William is a mature, likeable chap.
It deduces a parallel in the Vatican.
On every level, they have assured the future of the monarchy. It’s a similar story for the Pope. He’s inherited a Catholic Church mired in controversy, particularly the church’s ability to tackle sexual abuse problems.
But Pope Francis has shown a willingness to tackle the tough issues, and his social conscience cannot be questioned. He’s the 21st-century pope, taking the Catholic faith forward, rather than backwards.
The Melbourne Herald Sun is likewise enthused:
The fairytale images and easygoing nature of Prince William and his wife, Kate, is in no small measure the reason for a renewed affection for the royals …
The rise of dignified Wills and stylish Kate — further endeared by a bonnie Prince George — seems to have secured royal favour among antipodeans for years to come. It is no longer a story of pomp and circumstance but genuine interest and — almost — accessibility.
While the cord would inevitably be cut one day, “the affection broadly felt for the young royals means that moment is further away than republicans once wished”.
By George, they’ve made me a royalist”, runs the headline above Claire Harvey’s gushing paean to the glamour of the regal tourists in the Sydney Sunday Telegraph.
“I’m a bit embarrassed to admit this, given I’m supposed to be an ardent republican, but I’m really looking forward to King William V and Queen Catherine. On present form, King George VII looks like a monarch worth waiting for, too,” she writes, though she adds: “My new-found royal fandom is not very cool. It’s kind of a betrayal of my generation.”
“The royal visit will deepen Australians’ affection for the would-be king, his heir and glamorous wife,” adds the Newcastle Herald in its editorial. “Their rise will set back the republican movement for many years to come.”
The Melbourne Age hangs on to its republican position, meanwhile. From its editorial:
While it is comforting to know the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and bonny Prince George are contributing to our collective sense of wellbeing, their short-term presence should not detract from longer-term concerns: the issue of whether Australia becomes a republic is not going to go away. The Abbott government may have consigned the matter to the political deep-freeze, and there may be less general support than there was, but the merits of the case, in our view, remain undiminished.
The Age has long believed that the monarchy is a relic of our colonial and imperial past, and that we must become a republic with an Australian as head of state. We do not show disrespect to the Queen; in fact, we owe much to the history and heritage of the monarchy as we venture towards true independence.
The royal tour is “harmless, feel-good stuff”, writes Sarrah Le Marquand in the Sydney Daily Telegraph. It’s just a shame that mood is “invariably misinterpreted and exploited by those who insist on confusing celebrity with constitutional law”.
Michael McGowan is of similar mind in the Newcastle Herald. He doesn’t buy the idea that simply because “Kate and William genuinely do seem like nice people” the palace’s place atop Australian sovereignty is assured. “Porridge is quite nice, so were the members of Boyz II Men, but we didn’t decide to make either of them the head of our nation.”
Comfortably the finest coverage of the Australian tour, however, comes from the Manly Daily, which features a surfing Baby George on its front page: