March 10

Sticking together ……republican royal watchers… …


…republican royal watching …

The condemnation of New Idea for leaking the story about Prince Harry has been widespread.

Even the republican royal watcher Barry Everingham initially joined in.  “In another day and age,” he thundered, “ the editor of New Idea would be dealt with in the Tower of London." 

" This is irresponsible journalism at its worst,” he continued.

“ Having a go at celebrities to boost sales is one thing, putting this young bloke's life at risk is another and more than likely means that he's on his way home again as we speak.” ( 29 February, 2008)

When another republican royal watcher, Mark Day, former owner and editor of the Melbourne Truth, made the outrageous and completely unacceptable claim that the leak to New idea came from the Royal Family, most people were outraged. The Australian did publish our letter on 7 March 2008 under the jocular headline "Fiendish Republican Plot"


… eavesdropping or imagination …

But Barry Everingham has now returned to the issue, misquoting me and contradicting himself.

In a letter to The Australian published on 8 March, 2008, “Understanding the royals”  he begins by reminding all and sundry once again that he is terribly well informed about our Royal Family. After all he has been reporting their “doings” for “over three decades.”

In the past he even claims that he knows the content of private conversations between members of the Royal Family. He is not alone in that,  Richard Butler and writer Robert Lacey do the same.

 Richard Butler, after the announcement that he would become The Queen’s representative in Tasmania , actually  quoted on ABCTV from a purported conversation between The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh over the landslide defeat of the 1999 referendum to turn Australia into a republic. The suggestion was they wanted Australia to become a republic.

Such stories should be taken with a spoon of salt. The Queen and the Duke would hardly talk about such a matter in the presence of a witness. The proposition that either would  leak details of their conversation  is laughable.

The words attributed to The Queen suggest a lack of understanding and information about Australia. But on all accounts Her Majesty is extremely well informed on all of Her Realms.

In addition, those close to her suggest she possesses a rare insight into such matters which has been gained through a lifetime of close involvement in public affairs unequalled in the world.

But the conversation published in Lacey’s book and widely quoted by republicans suggests that when it comes to politics, our Sovereign is, politically speaking, a naïf. Her Majesty is anything but that. 

It may well be that these Royal watchers are the ones who are naive. They probably misinterpret The Queen’s clear indication that constitutional change is a matter for Australians.  They forget that  Her Majesty is after all a constitutional monarch.

 … republican royal watchers stick together… 

But back to Mr. Everingham.  He ignores my point that Day should have declared his  interest as former director of the republican movement. Instead he claims  I called on Mark Day to name his source for his story that the Royal Family leaked the news that Prince Harry was in  Afghanistan.  

I did nothing of the sort.

My complaint was that Day did not even claim a source. The only basis for his outrageous charge was, yes, years of republican royal watching, including the tabloid which tested the boundaries of acceptability, the Melbourne Truth. ( Mr Day was certainly not the royal watcher whom Senator Ryan suggested was the likely author of the outrageous   gossip column, “Betty” in the now defunct Canberra throwaway, the  Sunday Post,  mentioned in this column on 23 April 2006.)   

It seems that republican royal watchers  stick together.

Having praised  the Prince on Crikey ( it is rare to read him praising any member of the Royal Family) Barry Everingham now contradicts himself , presumably to lend further weight to his apparent support for Mark Day’s allegation that the Royal Family leaked the story about Prince Harry.

He suggests that “ many” a royal watcher is now being fed “ a few good yarns to negate any flack the young bloke may have caused.”

Mr. Everingham misses the point and forgets what he wrote on Crikey.

The “flack,” as he calls it, was not caused by the Prince. It was caused by those who  breached acceptable  media standards in revealing that the Prince was in Afghanistan.

Shame on them all. 




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