The Man of Steel’s excitement was such that he had a premature announcement last Friday – beating Buckingham Palace to the gun. The Queen will be here next year for the Commonwealth Games.

The hyperbole and the cant has started already. Games supremo Ron Walker said: “The Queen’s willingness to travel such a great distance as she approached her 80th birthday made her attendance an even greater delight”. What? Most 80-year-olds would jump at the chance to travel in the style of the Australian head of state. It could be by her own aircraft, or the whole first class section of a BA or Qantas jet. No customs, immigration or security checks. No worries about packing suitable clothes, no worries about looking for a taxi on her arrival.

Of course, it’s quite appropriate that Elizabeth II attends the Games. She is, after all, the Head of the Commonwealth, that moribund useless outdated post-colonial expensive wast of time. And we, one of the last vestiges of the old Empire will be hosting the Games.

Incidentally, the royal tradition of serving “Empire Pudding” at Windsor each Christmas has been abandoned. That means HM won’t be buying any more Australian dried fruits, one of the pudding’s main ingredients. Says it all in a funny sort of way.

Peter Fray

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