Sport should not be this cruel. This isn’t
even about Republicanism or the Monarchy any more. It’s just stating a simple
fact, based on observing last night’s Commonwealth Games opening ceremony. Shouldn’t we let the Queen retire?

Have you ever seen anybody look so bored to
be guest of honour? Even during the cringe-worthy Happy Birthday rendition, she only managed the briefest of watery
smiles. For the rest of it she just couldn’t be bothered. As some Melbourne kid
introduced Happy Birthday
face-to-face with the Regent, the biggest moment of his young life – she gave
him nothing.

No doubt the spin from all the Queen’s men
(John Howard, Ron Walker et al) would be that HRH loved it all and was
thrilled to be in town for the big event, but I don’t think so.

I don’t even blame her for looking like she
would rather be at home in front of The Bill, instead of watching some kid
and a duck get carried around the MCG on wires. She’s pushing 80. Her Majesty
is in Australia for about 10 minutes and jetlag wouldn’t be any more fun at her
age, Royal or not.

I can just see her and Prince Philip at
home on the day the invitation arrived. “Oh God, we have to attend the
Commonwealth Games opening ceremony – in Melbourne.” “Must
we, dear?”

How many opening ceremonies must she have
endured? Watching her face last night, I say she’s been to one too many, and
she can’t hide it anymore. She’s probably seen her share of fireworks by now,
hasn’t she?

Admittedly I tuned in late, just after the
flying tram, so there’s a chance Her Royal Highness had done an all-singing,
all-smiling Riverdance number upon her arrival, but for the majority of the
ceremony, she looked bored beyond belief.

Now don’t go into a knee-jerk
hyperventilating fit, Monarchists. Think carefully about this: what did Her
Majesty actually bring to last night’s ceremony, beyond “her presence”,
whatever that is?

A group of “thrilled” volunteers who were
introduced to her were asked by The
Herald-Sun
what she said to them. “Not much, really,” said one. “She just
asked if we were from the country or the city.”

Even her speech – after the endless
71-nation build-up of the Baton – showed a complete lack of inspiration.
Clearly her speechwriters are as sick of the whole thing as she is.

They say this is the Queen’s last visit to Australia,
even if she somehow reigns for another 25 years. Even for the Queen’s biggest
fans, would that be such a bad thing? We could still love her from afar,
Republic or not. And she could stay home and watch The Bill.

Peter Fray

Fetch your first 12 weeks for $12

Here at Crikey, we saw a mighty surge in subscribers throughout 2020. Your support has been nothing short of amazing — we couldn’t have got through this year like no other without you, our readers.

If you haven’t joined us yet, fetch your first 12 weeks for $12 and start 2021 with the journalism you need to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW