William’s visit a boost to flagging spirits
AUSTRALIA’S monarchists will be walking around with broad smiles on their faces this morning. The visit to Australia and New Zealand by Prince William has given ‘‘ our’’ royal family a relevance which many felt no longer existed. Australia’s ties to England have loosened significantly and republicans have been quick to point out having a head of state living on the other side of the world is ridiculous. The days of being an English outpost and ‘‘ British to our bootstraps’’ as former prime minister Robert Menzies once said, have long gone. We are now a truly multicultural nation and the fact we are on Asia’s doorstep and not Europe’s gives weight to calls for us to have our own head of state and not a representative of the monarch living in Australia. However, Prince William has single-handedly set the republicans’ case back decades. His popularity among Australians and New Zealanders cannot be understated. Prince William has had an effect on all the men, women and children he has came into contact with. Anyone who saw the Prince comfortably mingling with those who had waited to meet him could not help but notice the similarities between him and his mother, Princess Diana. Like his mother, the so-called Queen of Hearts, this Prince Charming has no aloofness. He has that same common touch and an ability to show genuine interest and, in this case, compassion for those he comes in contact with. Queensland Premier Anna Bligh called him ‘‘ a real people person’’. People in places like Cardwell, Tully, Grantham and Toowoomba always will remember the time Prince William, the future King, dropped in for a visit. Although only fleeting, his presence has helped lift flagging spirits. It will not remove any of the pain or loss those people have been feeling since having their worlds turned upside down by natural disasters but William put some excitement and happiness in their lives again which they have not had for a long time.