The feathers, or should I say the ermine tails, are really flying in the Disney world of Australia’s monarchists and it seems yesterday’s men and women are at battle stations with swords unsheathed.

In one corner is the Bruce Ruxton of Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy (ACM) Professor David Flint; in the other is Mr Philip Benwell who runs the Australian Monarchist League. Both organisations are known for their absolute and total and unflinching loyalty to out foreign, non resident, unelected head of state, and it seems anyone who is related to her no matter how distant — so long as there is title involved. To take a case in point — Professor Flint recently in his letter to his members waxed lyrical about the deposed royal family of Greece; which is a family about irrelevant as families are. Flint was obviously following the example of the Benwell camp who were delirious with excitement when the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Serbia and Montenegro paid a visit to Sydney and were given the full royal treatment. Talk about an irrelevant family.

I first encountered the Monarchist League in London in 1979 when I was researching a feature for The Australian on Europe’s former royal families.The then chair was Victor Bristol – sorry, the Marquis of Bristol. My research on his lordship revealed that before he succeeded to the title he was plain old Victor Hervy — and had in fact been a guest of the then king (George V!) for something or other to do with being in possession of valuable jewels which allegedly were not his.  Funny folk the monarchists. This will be an unfolding story worth watching.

Peter Fray

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