Royal visit was a welcome buzz

WARWICK RASMUSSEN - DEPUTY EDITOR
Last updated 16:20 16/11/2012
royals
MURRAY WILSON
His Royal Highness Prince Charles , Prince of Wales and his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall visit Feilding , meet locals and visit the Farmers market.

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The royal whirlwind has come and gone and the region can be proud of the way it handled the madness.

Ohakea, Feilding, a farm near Cheltenham and Massey University played host to Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, and things went as smoothly as they could.

Even the lottery that is the weather came to the party.

It's easy to compare this visit, part of the Queen's diamond jubilee, to past royal visits and draw the conclusion that the monarch's popularity is waning.

Such comparisons are pointless. The tours these days, while still steeped in tradition, are far less formal and far more relaxed.

The prince and the duchess, like many other royals, have changed the way they interact with people - and all for the better.

The relationship between the monarchy and the people has changed dramatically since the 1950s. There is more interaction, and more life. Even a little more fun.

The senior royals appear to have mellowed, too, which has helped boost their popularity. There's still the odd scandal that pops up, but there's almost a nostalgic feel to royal visits.

Put the republican argument aside for a moment and see how genuinely happy the crowds have been meeting the prince and the duchess.

Part of the resurgence in royal popularity, too, has to be down to the celebrity factor.

Popular culture and media coverage help build a bit of hype around "famous" or "notable" people. Their appearances have created a bit of buzz.

This particular tour has also been noticeable for the way the "Britishness" of the monarchy has been portrayed.

Even before they got to New Zealand there was a preference for people to wave New Zealand flags instead of Union Jacks.

These subtle changes have helped the royal family, and the PR machine behind it, move with the times.

The excesses of the royals, and the entourage and cost of keeping them, may rankle with some people.

Granted, who they are and what they stand for may not be everyone's cup of tea, but that shouldn't take away from the traditions and who they represent.

ONE MORE THING

Another sculpture is planned for Palmerston North paid for by public money.

There are a few issues that really divide people, such as the city's parking meter system.

Creating sculptures can be added to the list. It probably isn't the intention, but even before a sculpture is built there is plenty of passion as to whether one should even exist.

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That debate is healthy. It will be interesting to see what the next step is.

- Manawatu Standard

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