The royal ‘fairytale’ that faded

queen elizabeth and prince philip

Many of us of a certain age may have memories of royal visits to Australia or may even have met some of the royal family.

I have early childhood memories of a plate that took pride of place on the mantlepiece for years. I think it commemorated the visit of the Queen and Prince Phillip. Then there was a tin money box that featured a young Queen Elizabeth resplendent in her heavy crown and carrying a bunch of flowers, and on the opposite side the Queen in casual clothes with a young Prince Charles leaning out a window. The odd pennies and later cents were plonked into this money box until it became chipped and dented over time.

Finally, we had a large picture book that chronicled the royals, beautiful photographs of the coronation and the family at home at Balmoral surrounded by corgis and castles. Prince Charles and Princess Anne are frozen in childhood – sweet, young and innocent. I would sit for hours sprawled across the lounge room floor poring over these photographs, being careful not to wreck the pages, wondering what it would be like to be a princess. I envied these two royal children (the other two had not yet been born), thinking, as you do as a child, that their life had to be one of bliss and indulgence and, ultimately, happiness.

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You would think that these early mementos of indoctrination would have had me leaning towards being a royalist or at least feeling neutral towards them. However, when I grew older and realised the absurdity of so-called blue blood and genuflecting towards someone because of an accident of their birth, my view of the royal family changed. Not to hostility, mind you, just indifference.

However, when Prince Harry announced to the world that he was about to write a tell-all memoir for his eager followers, I groaned inwardly. I know he has a right to write what he wants. I know he has had a difficult life losing his mother at a young age, but then so have many millions of people around the planet.

I cannot help but wonder who would be interested in his life story if he was not a prince? He comes from a position of privilege and entitlement, regardless of how much he claims to be an ‘ordinary man’. He has led a sheltered life of people fawning and grovelling in front of him. He sadly was number two in the pecking order and was really just ‘the spare’ in the royal lineage. Now he has moved even further down the ranks of being a possible heir to the throne and finds himself redundant.

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I think that is largely the problem – he has no real role and life outside of being royal and now has further cast himself away from the fold – a fold that at least gave him a place, a military or charitable role that was clearly defined.

As a child I believed in the fairytale of the prince rescuing his princess, but now who comes to the  rescue of the prince?

Do you follow the ‘adventures’ of the royal family? Do you feel sympathy for Prince Harry? Why not share your thoughts in the comments section below?

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Written by Dianne Motton

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Derryn Hinch on money, pollies, journalism, sorrow and coping