Royal history has a funny way of repeating itself — and William of Wales’s desire to live at Yarralumla bears a spooky remembrance to the remarks made by by his father to your correspondent at a Foreign Press Association gathering in London way back in 1979.  Charles was the FPA’s luncheon guest and I said to him: “It has been reported you want to be our (Australia’s) governor-general — your comment?” The royal reply was frank: “I would be love to be your governor-general but no one has asked me. I can’t pick up a telephone and call the prime minister and say — it’s Charles, can I be governor-general?”  “Quite so,” I said , and he startled the gathering by saying: “If you have any influence can you ask for me!” Long laughter. Reality would have it that William is drawing a long bow floating this one. Why would any prime minister appoint a 25-year-old English party boy to Australia’s top job and how would the boy have the experience to handle it? More to the point, how would Australians feel about such an appointment?  The current Governor-General, a distinguished and gallant retired army officer, is trodden all over by the current Prime Minister, who seems to see himself in the dual presidential role as both head of state and head of government. Until the dawn of the Australian republic, the Yarralumla sinecure is kept for retired generals or politicians who need to paid off — such is the nature of the beast.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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