Kate a unifying force in a political rat race

by DAVID FLINT – THERE would be hardly anyone, at least anyone with a heart, who has not been moved by what has befallen the King, and now Catherine, Princess of Wales. 

Both have shown great dignity and great courage. The worldwide reaction demonstrates how our royal family holds a special place of affection among so many. 

Those who rushed to declare all manner of wild and implausible conclusions, conventional and social, have hopefully learned a lesson on holding back from cruel and gratuitous speculation.

Everybody knows them, or more correctly, seems to believe they know them. Many people seem to have a view on what they should do or not do. It is almost as if they are an extension of every family.

Even self-proclaimed “republicans” exhibit a curious need, even an obsession, to see and be seen with royals.

WARNED

So much so that I frequently warn loyalists, tongue in cheek, never to stand between republicans and royalty, else they risk being knocked down in the rush.

I have come close to being a victim of this. Invited on one occasion to be presented to the Queen, an MP who would declare his republicanism from the rooftops, gradually tried to edge me out of the way.

It was only the broad shoulders of a young monarchist that kept him in his place.

In our crowned republic, a term created by Victoria’s poet laureate, Alfred Lord Tennyson, and one which captures, with rare precision, our evolved constitutional monarchy, the members of our royal family enjoy an esteem which politicians can only dream of.

At this point I expect some will paraphrase Mandy Rice-Davies’ celebrated comment on Lord Astor’s denial of impropriety with her, saying simply, “Well, he would say that, wouldn’t he?”

In reply, I would point to last year’s esteemed US Gallup poll on public figures.

This shows that citizens of that great American republic now look beyond their borders to find public figures whom the great majority of them feel good about and on whom both Republicans and Democrats can agree.

The strongest candidate to emerge was not American. The most popular public figure in that great republic turned out to be none other than our future king, Prince William.

This surely is testimony to the genius in our style of constitutional evolution which produced constitutional monarchy Mark II, the crowned republic succeeding the version introduced in the Glorious Revolution of 1688.

Little wonder that it was incorporated, without dissent, as a fundamental pillar of our Australian constitution, a crucial fact which would have been once taught in our schools.

Apart from the special relationship, which although unstated at the time, would underpin the Monroe Doctrine, this evolution was the happy result of that avoidable war of independence.

CRUCIAL

The essence of this is that while retaining a crucial and impartial constitutional role, the sovereign has lost his former political role, becoming instead patron of good works.

Unfettered now with political affiliations and loyalties, the sovereign has emerged as a unifying force, providing something demonstrably needed in society, “leadership beyond politics”.

The value of this rare asset within our constitutional system was recognised early in the campaign to stop a politicians’ republic being imposed on Australia.

“Leadership beyond politics” was seriously considered by the founders as the name for what was to become Australians for Constitutional Monarchy.

The value of the necessarily associated development, the Westminster system, has been best demonstrated in dealing with the problem of a head of government who, for the good of the country, should go.

That head is no more than first among equals in what is a cabinet government.

This problem became obvious in the US surprisingly soon after the last election of a president.

Remember, the presidential role is essentially that of a non-hereditary monarch. While it is obvious the incumbent, Joe Biden, should go, his mandatory successor, Kamala Harris, is hardly better.

The result has been a full term of misgovernment affecting not only the US but all the free world.

Contrast that with May 1940, when Britain, by default still the dominant world power, was threatened with invasion.

After the failure of Munich, its prime minister, Neville Chamberlain had lost the confidence of the House and no doubt the country.

Accepting this, Chamberlain resigned. After taking soundings, the King sent for Winston Churchill to invite him to form a government. It was all done quietly, efficiently and with great dignity – something clearly impossible to achieve today in Washington.

But to return to the Princess of Wales.

Her indication that she had first to explain everything to her children, George, Charlotte and Louis, in a way that was appropriate for them, and reassure them that she was “going to be okay”, was a crucial preface to any public announcement. It could not have been otherwise.

Those who rushed to declare all manner of wild and implausible conclusions in the media, conventional and social, have hopefully learned a lesson on holding back from cruel and gratuitous speculation.

She concluded her statement with something which confirms her innate virtue. I once had the honour of speaking with her.

Apart from her beauty and charm, what was obvious was that she is both generous and caring, as they say, an ideal “role model”. Her conclusion was characteristically caring.

FAITH

“For everyone facing this disease, in whatever form,” she said, “please do not lose faith or hope. You are not alone.”

Cancer is everywhere. It is thus timely to reconsider the spending priorities of government.

In a time when it seems every problem, real or imagined, is answered by billions being allocated, subsidies declared and bureaucracies created, should we not review what we spend on research into cancer prevention and cure?

The world spends about A$38b a year on this. As usual, the much-maligned Americans make the greatest contribution, $21b.

Australia spends, as far as I can see, a little over a $250m a year.

Just think of the succession of vast sums of money on matters of far lesser import.

The fight against cancer, which can strike anyone, requires a truly significant increase in funding.PC

David Flint

MAIN PHOTOGRAPH: The Prince & Princess of Wales (courtesy Reddit)
RE-PUBLISHED: This article was originally published by The Spectator Australia on March 30, 2024. Re-used with permission.

4 thoughts on “Kate a unifying force in a political rat race

  1. I hope that our new Governor-General has read and understands David Flint’s excellent article.

  2. “THERE would be hardly anyone, at least anyone with a heart, who has not been moved by what has befallen the King, and now Catherine, Princess of Wales. ”

    LOL, I myself have survived cancer (so far, at least). Is there “anyone with a heart who has not been moved by what has befallen” *me* ?

    “Both have shown great dignity and great courage.”

    Well I didn’t fold up like a cheap suit either. Does someone want to whack a crown on my head and proclaim me King?

  3. I cared for a friend who was diagnosed with inoperable cancer and she died at the beginning of 2020 after eighteen months of pain, chemo and immunotherapy and an increasingly poor quality of life, at first at my home because it was a better location than her own home and for the final months she was in a hospital and then palliative care in a nursing home, the latter an experience I would not recommend as a daily visitor and observer of incompetent management handicapping employees who wanted to help but who were also struggling to cope.

    I agree – “The fight against cancer, which can strike anyone, requires a truly significant increase in funding.”

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