kids

'The confusing day I had to tell my daughter she could never be Queen.'

“Sometimes a five-year-old’s blunt questions have a knack of cutting to the chase… ”

When my daughter grows up, she wants to be a Queen.

Specifically, she wants to be the Queen of Australia.

She imagines that it’s a job like Elsa’s, but with more drama and fewer reindeer. Mostly, she thinks it involves wearing lovely frocks and ordering people around. Two things she would certainly like more of in her life.

Unfortunately for her, that job is not available, as I explained to her in one of the more confusing conversations I have had as a parent.

queen of australia
The Queen just set a new record for the longest-reigning monarch. Image via Getty Images.

Firstly, I had to explain that the Queen of Australia does not live in Australia. In fact, she has only visited us 16 times in her life.

Then, I had to explain that the Queen of Australia is not IN CHARGE of Australia. The person in charge is a man called Malcolm Turnbull, and he was voted into that position by the people, while the Queen got it just for, you know, being born.

Then I had to explain that there was only one way my daughter could get the job for herself: She could travel to England and get this preschooler to marry her:

Marrying Prince George is the only option at this point.

Then I had to explain what a Head of State was and what they did on a day-to-day basis (thank you, Google).

Obviously, this was a ridiculous conversation to be having with a five-year-old. But sometimes a five-year-old’s blunt questions have a knack of cutting to the chase.

The idea of Australia’s Head of State living somewhere else, having no real connection to us and no real influence over us is ridiculous to explain because it is ridiculous.

Whether you’re five, or 50, that’s ridiculous.

Queen Elizabeth is Britain’s longest-reigning monarch. It is an incredible achievement. When she took the throne in 1952, her world was an entirely different place.

ADVERTISEMENT

Her Royal Highness has seen out 14 Australian Prime Ministers and been “our” Head of State while Australia finally recognised its indigenous population’s right to vote, got our first female Prime Minister and fired another one.

Prime Minister Gough Whitlam’s government was dismissed by the Governor-General during the 1975 Constitutional Crisis.

She has reigned as long as it has taken for the journey from London to Australia to have shrunk from weeks on a ship to 24 hours watching on-demand movies and drinking teeny-tiny bottles of prosecco.

It’s unlikely she ever imagined that she would one day have to weather accusations of conspiring to murder her own daughter-in-law. Or live to see her children’s disastrous love lives splashed across the world on tabloid front pages in every language.

It goes without saying that she probably never imagined that there would be someone pretending to be her on something called Twitter, who has well over a million followers.

And yet, Queen Elizabeth has stayed strong, has stayed stoic, has stayed, with a couple of little wobbles, popular.

She even stood by when a Dame (a Dame!) won an Oscar for playing her in a movie.

You know you’ve made it when Dame Helen Mirren plays you in a movie.

She’s a role model to millions. An example of devotion to duty, of keeping on keeping on. There is so much to admire about Queen Elizabeth II.

But she is not a role model to young Australians aspiring to leadership.

That job needs to belong to someone else. Which is why I found myself trying to explain the Republican movement to my five-year-old.

“Some people think it’s silly that we don’t have our own Head of State,” I begin, wondering how long it will take before the questions about crowns and shoes begin.

But even to a five-year-old girl, who is only thinking about herself and what sparkly balls she might one day get to attend, it makes sense.

“An Australian Queen? I want to be THAT.”

Time for an Australian head of state. Sorry, Liz.

Let’s fudge the Queen part, and take that sentiment to where it belongs: a Head of State an Australian can be.

Because Elsa aside, shouldn’t our Head of State be someone who our children can want to be, whatever their background, wherever they’re from?

A position that is not off-limits to you because of who your parents happen to be?

To borrow a hackneyed phrase: It’s time. As the Australian Republican Movement gathers pace once more, it’s a conversation that makes perfect sense, even to five-year-olds.

Because the longest-ever reigning monarch has done an impressive job of “ruling” Australia. But that milestone is only a sign that HRH should be the last.

It’s a job that should be open to all. Even if they’re wearing an Elsa dress.

Are you a republican?

You can follow Holly Wainwright on Facebook, here.

00:00 / ???