When I first wrote about the royal wedding, I kept the snark about the royals to a minimum. After all, it’s a wedding, not an opportunity for political posturing. You don’t have to be a part of the British Empire to participate in the royal wedding hype – even Americans have wedding donuts! So I was happy to call an amnesty on criticism of the monarchy for this event. Until its blinding stupidity was broadcast for all Australians to see when the palace censored the Chaser’s coverage of the wedding.
Let’s leave aside the whole censorship issue for a start. And the quality of the Chaser. My objection comes from the fact that the monarchy has clearly misunderstood the Australian people. In Australia, to make fun of someone is in no way an insult. On the contrary, taking the piss out of someone is a sign of ownership, that you’re in, loved, “one of us”! Far from being disrespectful, it’s actually a compliment. That the Chaser thought the wedding was a big enough deal to reunite and make a show for indicates how important it is perceived to be in Australia, in contrast to British indifference.
I’m reminded of the way the palace totally misread public feeling at the time of Diana’s death and their bafflement at the outpouring of feeling then. Here’s another classic faux pas, an opportunity to present themselves to their Australian people as modern, with something of a sense of humor, and they’ve failed miserably. What a blunder for the monarchy that they have used the source of good feeling toward the monarchy to once again show how out of touch they are. This is exactly the sort of behaviour that fuels objection to a foreign monarch and rightly so. If you’re going to govern Australia, for heaven’s sake, take a little time to understand the people you claim to have such deep affection for.
Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.