WHAT is it about "the Royals" which so intrigues us?

Why do we, as an independent country which prides itself on its own identity and its multicultural and non-class-based society, many of whom embrace the notion of a republic, seem so eager to follow every move that particularly Princes William and Harry and their wives make?

Could we be moving towards a new generation or regeneration of monarchists?

Popular culture expert, Dr Jess Carniel from the University of Southern Queensland, doesn't think so.

"I think it would be wrong to make an assumption about how we feel regarding a republic or monarchy based on our response to royal tours," she said.

"It's definitely more about celebrity these days.

"We know the Queen is technically our Head of State, but there is a disconnection - most people don't really attach our government system to their thinking about these people."

While the Royal fascination crosses the generations, Dr Carniel said the reasoning behind it does change.

For the younger generation it is simply about the chance of "a selfie" with a famous person.

"The Royals are more attractive, personable and accessible than many celebrities because part of their modus operandi is to connect with local communities, unlike Hollywood stars, for instance, who you are more likely to see walking a red carpet."

 

Dr Jess Carniel.
Dr Jess Carniel.

However, she said, there is also the historic fascination with the family, and for many over-55s that connection, whether back to the Queen and Queen Mother, fighting for Queen and Commonwealth, or simply to the Queen of Hearts, Princess Diana, is very real.

Princes William and Harry are very much their mother's sons in their more relaxed and friendly approach, she said, and have now been adopted as "the people's princes" just as their mother was once "the people's princess".

"They are the type of young men you'd want as your son," she said.

"They are positive role models for young people and probably a symbol of hope for all of us."

And that element of romance shouldn't be overlooked, from right back to the "fairytale wedding" of Prince Charles and Lady Di, to watching their grief-stricken boys grow to men, with very public romances and weddings.

"There is definitely that nostalgic attachment," Dr Carniel said.

And while Harry in particular had enjoyed his "wild days", both have matured into their public roles including taking the lead in mental health, the environment and helping returned service people.

Asked if she thought a referendum on a republic would bring different results to those almost 20 years ago in 1999, Dr Carniel said there was certainly a greater "distancing" of current generations from "Queen and Commonwealth".

Past generations, she pointed out, grew up singing "God Save the Queen", with a picture of the Queen in every classroom and on every stamp, and the Queen's annual message an important part of Christmas formalities.

Today, our only concrete connection is the Queen's profile on our money.

We see the Royals today more as "real people" even if they do have a rarified life, with the princes as likely to been seen at sporting events in jeans and rolled up shirts as in their military regalia, being cheeky and joking around as making formal speeches.

Dr Carniel said she believed that marketing of the princes as "young and fresh" was a "very deliberate thing" on the part of Buckingham Palace, and pointed to television series such as The Crown giving us a different, more human perspective of the Queen as well.

"They are romantic figures, but they also embody many of the values we still hold dear," she said.

And ultimately, unlike our ever-changing political figures and their spats, they really don't impact our daily lives - and that's got to be good.


Let me tell you a tale of clinging to self-respect

Let me tell you a tale of clinging to self-respect

A humbling cafe encounter proved I could in fact sink further.

One week until $2400 ‘lazy tax’ kicks in

One week until $2400 ‘lazy tax’ kicks in

Got health insurance? Come April 1, you could be in for a shock

Festival's principal goal is dance jam for charity

Festival's principal goal is dance jam for charity

Dance jam aims to aid drought-affected