The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge came to Cambridge the other weekend. To the chagrin of the three republicans in our village, there was a massive turnout, as seen above (photographer: Sarah Fraser). People came from Tauranga, Te Awamutu and yes, even from Tirau. According to our excellent local paper, the Cambridge Edition, there were 18,000 people in the streets and another 2000 at the Avantidrome, a nearby cycling arena. For a town of maybe 17,000 that’s quite a turnout, considering how many people were sitting quietly, unroyally, unflagwavingly at home. People like me.
The night before the royal visit we were in the racecourse bar with friends. The wives were saying how beautiful the Duchess was. The female children agreed. The husbands were silent.
A wife asked, “Don’t you think she’s beautiful?”
A husband said, “Seems nice but no, not really.”
Consternation among the wives, but the husbands were adamant: we were not interested in being part of the crowd clamouring for a glimpse of the Duchess. Couldn’t see the point.
And then another husband (possibly me) said: “If it was her sister…” At which all the husbands whimpered, “Oh god yes.”
What was interesting was that the women could not see the appeal to the blokes of Pippa Middleton – they were really baffled by the fact that every male vote was in her favour, from the nephew of 16 to the elderly uncle of 60.
Which brings us to the Spectator of 19 April, which asks “Which Commonwealth countries have received the most senior royal visits since 1952?” The list puts Canada at #1, Australia at #2 and New Zealand at #3. Cyprus languishes at the bottom of the table, behind even Fiji. Well played, Cyprus.
So here is Frank Zappa with “Blessed Relief” from his 1972 album The Grand Wazoo: