Alf must register his extreme disappointment this morning at the response by NZ Herald readers to news of a visit to our shores by His Royal Highness Prince Charlie.
The Prince and his missus, Camilla (aka the Duchess of Cornwall) are set to tour the country next year as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
Buckingham Palace announced that family representatives will make official visits during the year to all 15 countries outside the United Kingdom of which Queen Elizabeth is sovereign.
We are privileged to be assigned a visit by the successor to the throne, rather than one of your also-rans.
But the tiny state of Tuvalu will do nicely, thank you, out of the arrangements and Mrs Grumble is trying to persuade Alf to pop up there at the appropriate time.
In what is likely to be the most high-profile part of the itinerary, William – the queen’s grandson and second in line to the throne – will travel with Catherine to Malaysia, Singapore, the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu.
The tiny Pacific nation of Tuvalu has not had a royal visit in decades. When the queen and her husband toured it in 1982 they were carried shoulder high by islanders into the capital Funafuti as they sat in canoes.
Prince Harry, William’s younger brother, will make his first solo trip overseas on behalf of the queen, touring Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas.
We can give him a miss. It’s his red hair – a bit of a turn-off.
Prime Minister John Key, naturally, has said he welcomes the news of Prince Charles’ visit.
“I am pleased New Zealand will be able host the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations,” Mr Key said.
The Prince of Wales last visited New Zealand in 2005 but the Duchess of Cornwall will be making her first visit.
Alf was dead keen to get more details, but the time of the visit and the places the pair will visit have yet to be formalised.
The constituents of Eketahuna North can be assured that their MP will be robustly lobbying for their town to be included in the itinerary. We could take him fishing in the Makakahi River, or show him the birds at the Mt Bruce sanctuary, and stuff like that.
Alf is disappointed, of course, that the queen, 85, and her husband Prince Philip, 90, will remain in Britain.
But they will travel as widely as possible throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the palace said.
For those who would like to know –
Elizabeth is the second longest-reigning monarch in British history, after her great-great-grandmother queen Victoria, who reigned for more than 63 years.
She became queen when her father, king George VI, died on February 6, 1952, while she was in Kenya on an official visit.
But how have Herald readers reacted to news that her eldest son and his missus will be coming here on her behalf to mark the jubilee?
A poll on the rag’s website posed a question: how excited are you by next year’s royal visit by Charles and Camilla?
We were given a few options – Alf and Mrs Grumble ticked the first, to register they are extremely excited and are getting ready to wave their British flags.
But dammit, that put us in the miniority – only a smattering of respondents shared our ecstasy.
When Alf last checked, the results were
Extremely – I’m getting ready to wave my British flag (5%)
Pretty excited – it’ll be nice to see a royal here again (12%)
I’m neutral (20%)
Not very (I’d have mustered more excitement for Wills and Kate) (37%)
I’m a republican, send ’em somewhere else (26%)
The strength of republicanism in this country is the most depressing aspect of those data.
Can’t we have the buggers locked up for sedition, treason or something similarly serious?
Lopping their heads off would be even better. Detaining them at Her Majesty’s pleasure would put unnecessary pressure on the prisons, if we rounded them all up then banged them up.
It would be expensive too.
But Alf would willingly spare taxpayers the expense of incarceration by offering his services free, gratis and for nothing to despatch them to the hereafter.