Young royals add glamour to welcome institution

Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.
Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. Photo: AP

Celebrity royal newlyweds Prince Harry and former American film and TV actor Meghan Markle’s two-week visit next month will be met by an adoring crowd, even as the nation continues to debate becoming a republic. Not since the prince’s mother Diana, ‘'the people’s princess'’, has the British royal family been so glamourours and popular.

‘'Fairy tale’' is perhaps a hackneyed term, but sometimes it is unquestionably apt. The globally followed romance and marriage of the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex, whose own story contains is such a case. More than 2 billion people were estimated to have tuned in to the wedding, which included a show-stealing, passionate sermon from a Chicago preacher.

The visit of the duke and duchess will bring excitement and joy to many. It is also an opportunity for people to witness that the Royal Family continues its long support for community development across the world.

It is a welcome continuation of visits by the Royal Family. In 1954, our then 25-year-old head of state, Queen Elizabeth II, two years after her ascension, became the first reigning monarch to travel to Australia. While the royal family’s popularity has fluctuated significantly, Her Majesty’s comportment during her record-breaking reign has earned her staunch respect.

The United Kingdom’s monarchy has not been so feted for glamour and community connection since the Diana phenomenon. Two decades after her death in Paris in a car crash, her two royal sons are married to commoners who similarly enchant and intrigue people the world over and who have been similarly culturally crowned as princesses and promoters of individual strength and style.

Media coverage of Diana and Charles’ first-born William, and his wife Catherine Middleton, married in 2011, and their three children, George, Charlotte and Louis, is perennially devoured. Interest in the royal family was stoked in May when brother Prince Harry married Ms Markle.

The visit to Australia next month by the newlyweds is built around the Invictus Games – an international Paralympic sporting event for wounded and sick servicemen and women - in Sydney. The prince was a founder of the organisation, and has been promoting it during his extensive tour, considered likely to benefit tourism, media and advertising.While the royal family does exemplify the classical ethic of noblesse oblige – privilege compels responsibility – many question whether monarchy has become outmoded, and that heredity is a flawed basis for such power. Many nations, including former members of the Commonwealth.

It is inevitable that Australia will also become a republic. Not with a lack of regard for history generally, and the role in it, in particular, of the UK monarchy, but with gratitude and a tie that will not be undermined. There is no rush; a natural pace will emerge. A frantic pace awaits the royal couple - their two-week trip takes in Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand. They will encounter many, many Australians and other people of the region delighted to see them and to share a history, in its many facets.