Tuesday, 5 July 2011

The Palace, Ottawa

It seems that most Canadians have taken the Cambridges to their hearts, and everyone knows what warm hearts Canadians have. Some Québécois did hold up some handmade banners: "Parasite go home", "Kate go UK yourself" and so on, but most did not strongly oppose the visit, merely grumbling about its cost. And the prince got an undeserved cheer for his schoolboy French.

This raises an appealing possibility. When the time comes for the by-then ageing couple to take their thrones, why should they not become permanently resident in Canada? Presumably they will be considered King and Queen of Canada anyway, as well as of Britain, and there seems no reason why they would have to go on living over here: they could appoint a Governor-General to represent them here, and of course they could come over and make a state visit whenever they felt like it.

This scenario is rather less unlikely than the one that Nevil Shute set out in his novel In the Wet. Shute wrote it in 1953 when he had become disenchanted with socialism and such vile institutions as the National Health Service, and he describes how the Queen had become frustrated by her government's treatment of her. While she is on a visit to Ottawa the heir to the throne indicates that he will not succeed her while this situation persists and then, with the support of the "heavily royalist" Australia and Canada, leaves England. The Government falls and the Prince of Wales becomes Governor-General while the Queen confines herself to Commonwealth matters.

(Actually, the plot is much more complicated than this; Shute was strongly anti-racist, and though a naive or even simple-minded writer in some ways, had some ideas which were ahead of his time (metal fatigue in aircraft, for example) and an extraordinary ability to tell preposterous stories with conviction: in Round the Bend he describes the life and death of an aircraft engineer who founds a new religion and may indeed have been divine.)

Australia in recent years has not been strongly royalist, but Canada with a bit of encouragement might one day be persuaded to give a permanent lodging to Kate and Wills, for this would do wonders for their tourist trade and be one in the eye for the Americans, who would be green with envy.

We could still use all our experience of mounting gorgeous spectacles and pull in the tourists every year or two when the couple and their offspring make state visits, while saving ourselves the huge sums of money they cost us as long as they go on living here, and the BBC could dispense with whoever has replaced Nicholas Witchell as Royal Crawler Pursuivant.


Elizabeth said...

My contradiction-spotting hobgoblin has asked me to enquire whether "enormous benefits to.. tourist trade" don't make up for "the huge sums they cost us"? (quite apart from all the other benefits)

Tony said...

No, I doubt if they do. Anyway, tourists come to see our stately homes and castles, not only in the hope of catching a glimpse of one of the Windsors; we'd still have our picturesque bits to pull in the punters. And the Changing of the Guard could continue even if there were no royals to guard.

What are all the "other benefits" of which you speak?

Elizabeth said...

Off with your head!

Elizabeth said...

Risking varicose leg ulcers when standing up for hours of small talk with the public, smashing bottles on ships' prows, smiling continuously despite having an awful headache, giving up an evening's telly to entertain foreign dignitaries, attracting donors to give to charities, cheering up the sick, giving us all some colour, fun and focus (quite apart from even further benefits).

Tony said...

Let's just say that you and I don't agree on the value to us of the Windsors.
Ah! ça ira, ça ira, ça ira! A la lanterne with the lot of them!