Well she’s on the money. She was born in April, but Australians are too partial to our public holidays to celebrate her birthday then…too close to ANZAC day, and gee, sometimes her birthday holiday would be swallowed up by Easter (gasp!) and we couldn’t have that, could we, so we celebrate it in June, when it’s dark and cold already and it feels like a long time since Easter and we’re all desperate for one last long weekend before the chill sets in.
Aussies traditionally don’t care about that much. We’re a laconic sorta bunch on the whole, and prone neither to great loves or great hatreds (although as I write this I’m remembering the horror of the race riots in Cronulla, and the screaming hordes of tweenage One Direction fans. And even the protesters who turned up with placards at a recent function I attended…although six or seven people doth hardly a protest make. We honestly thought they were directing us to the parking!). I’ve not met many (any?) people with a passion for the Queen, for our noble place as part of the British Commonwealth (although as a kid I did enjoy being top of the medal tally at the Commonwealth games). I don’t know anyone who will go out and let off some jolly old fireworks tonight in honour of Her Majesty, or even pat a corgi in her honour. Actually, I don’t know anyone with a corgi either.
But today we are happy because we have the day off. Or because there is a day off. Apparently, according to an article in The Australian newspaper in 2011, only 34% of Australians over the age of 14 support a republic, the lowest level since the Republic Referendum in 1991. Either we love Wills and Kate like everybody loved Charles and Di back in the 80s, or in this time of sweeping social upheaval, financial uncertainty and loss, we just don’t like change.
So Happy Birthday, Your Majesty. So sorry we missed it by a few months (every year!). I sincerely hope you have (had) a lovely one. And, to all my readers out there, whatever we think of the Queen, there’s no denying…she’s on the money.