Republic Opinion

A conversation between a monarchist and republican on the Queen

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Queen Elizabeth II (image by Rajasekharan Parameswaran via Wikimedia Commons)

The Queen's legacy is complex, John Longhurst writes.

A SUITED-UP Mick balancing two schooners, wended his way through the boisterous crowd to the bar table.

Seated, he kept both schooners before him. Bazza raised an eyebrow:

“Now, Bazza, I suggest we have a drink to Queen Elizabeth II. If you have a problem, or you make any smart arse comments, I will leave and rejoin Mrs Weatherspoon-Jones’ memorial reception. She has a private table booked out in the lounge bar… for selected guests.”

Mick stiffened his back and touched his black armband. They eyed each other for a short moment.

Bazza licked his lips:

“Well, Mick I am more than aware of your allegiance to the Royal Family. I might be a republican… but I am not going to go thirsty.”

Mick relaxed his shoulders, slid the schooner across and they both took long sips:

“In fact, Mick, I won’t even tell the story of the time I was in the Solomon Islands and Queen Elizabeth II was introduced to the crowd as Queen Elizabeth the Eleventh and then…”

Mick’s face tightened:

“I’ve warned you, Bazza… show some respect.”

He replied:

Ok… relax, Mick… relax. But I do have this mate who was a newly elected Member of Parliament who went to London with a delegation. Part of the itinerary was a meeting with the Queen at Buckingham Palace along with like representations from various parts of the Commonwealth. As you could imagine, many were invited, but he was still pretty excited to meet Her Majesty.

Mick leaned in:

“So far so good, Bazza. You are behaving yourself.”

Bazza took a sip:

Anyhow Mick, on the morning of the meeting he gets a call from a high-ranking Minister in his own Government. Due to illness, he requests my mate to stand in for him, at a one-on-one meeting with Her Majesty, as he did not want to jeopardise her health.

 

Well… he duly crams all the relevant information provided in the briefing notes and spends a pleasant half hour with the Queen. She is by all accounts exactly as she is portrayed; knowledgeable, engaging and genuinely interested.

Mick said:

“Well… I’m going to drink to that, Bazza. You have confirmed my view.”

Immediately Bazza replied:

“Ahhhh… but there is more, Mick.”

Mick groaned:

“Don’t Bazza… please don’t spoil it.”

Bazza urged patience:

“Hold on, Mick… you see… he still had to attend the meeting with the Queen that afternoon, as per his original schedule, with all the delegates from the Commonwealth.”

Mick said:

“Two meetings with the Queen in one day is pretty impressive, Bazza.”

Bazza agreed:

That’s what I thought, Mick. Well… he lines up with the rest of them and is standing next to some multi titled and very English Lord. This Lord makes a quick assessment of our Parliamentarian from the Colony and offers him some very detailed instructions on expected behaviour when meeting Her Majesty. He even gets him to practise a slight bow of the head for good measure.

 

Mick warned:

“Protocol is important, Bazza… but I don’t like where this story is going.”

Bazza said:

All good, Mick… I promised to be respectful.

 

So… the Queen comes along and spends a little time with each of the delegates and finally approaches the multi titled Lord. Of course, he bows and respectfully informs Her Majesty that it is their second meeting and recounts the details. She, of course, feigns recollection and politely moves on. The multi titled Lord steps back, quite chuffed.

Bazza paused for a sip:

“Next up, she greets our humble Parliamentarian from the Colony with a beaming smile. She uses his first name repeatedly and effuses, 'it is such a pleasure to see you again' and engages in extended conversation, until her aide reminds her to move on, in accordance with the schedule.”

Mick said:

“Well… God save the Queen, Bazza.”

John Longhurst is a former industrial advocate and political adviser. He currently works as an English and History teacher on the South Coast of NSW.

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