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Harry and Meghan's Circus Oz

  • 22 October 2018


The first I knew that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were in Australia was when I had to provide my name during a recent retail transaction. 'Oh, I bet you're getting lots of people calling you Meh-gan!' the man behind the counter said. To which I responded in a very unrefined tone: 'What?'

He went on to say that with Harry and Meghan 'here', and with the particular pronunciation of her name, everyone must be pronouncing my name the same as hers. It was only then that a tiny piece of media fluff, apparently free-floating in my subconscious for some time, rose to the surface and I became conscious that the new royal couple were actually in the country.

That's the extent to which the royal family and all news related to them goes straight to the 'irrelevant' folder in my brain. A friend's Facebook post last week sums up my feelings about it. It was about people saying to her 'The royals are doing a wonderful job' and her rather perfect response: 'At what?!'

A few comments on her post are worth a mention. One person said the royals were good at making them hate breakfast television shows. Another said they were good at causing traffic problems. A third said they were doing a good job of saving Australia from a presidential system of government — a sentiment many would agree with as we watch dumbly at what the US presidential system is now delivering.

When it comes to royal visits, it could only have an impact on me in one very specific and unlikely scenario: if I worked in the marketing department at Burberry. In which case my response would be more 'let them eat cake' than 'off with their heads'. But I may be getting a bit off point.

Yes, we are a Commonwealth with prime ministers who in theory still 'answer to' the Queen. Yes, her family features prominently in the founding documents of colonial Australia. And yet to me, the couple's 'baby news' or Queen Elizabeth's latest Burberry blazer or Harry's temporary abstinence from alcohol are all nothing more than background noise that at times like now gets unbearably loud.

I think at some level, the majority of us understand that the royal family are a spectacle, with the main winning feature being plain old continuity — which brings a sense, almost, of immortality due to the fact the royals are