The British High Commission hosted a breakfast function this morning for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee at the High Commissioner’s Homewood residence in Karori. It is a beautiful property and grounds – well worth visiting if you are ever invited.
A few people gently hassled me about why a member of the Republican Movement Council would attend a function for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. My answer was firstly that I want New Zealand, not the United Kingdom, to become a republic. So I’m very happy to acknowledge the service of QEII as Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Putting aside the political and constitutional issues, I also have no problem respecting her incredible devotion to duty. Even at age 86 she still spends much of her time with public duties. She has served as patron to 600 charities, and has toured over 250 countries. These are not sightseeing trips, but working trips.
With the exception of the death of Diana, she has basically not put a step wrong in 60 years of the throne – a serious achievement considering the huge proportion of time she has spent under public scrutiny. If you have to have a monarchy, then the British one is a pretty good one to have (even though Princess Madeleine of Sweden remains my favourite!).
If the Queen lives to the same age as her mother, she will make her platinum jubilee in ten years time, and maybe even her a 75th jubilee also.
Of course poor Prince Charles himself will be 78 in 15 year times, and even Prince William will be 45. With life expectancy for those with excellent health care often making 100, it may mean in future most monarchs will not ascend to the throne until they are around 70. This is one of the issues around keeping a job until death!