Republicanism is on the run in Australia – and it’s all thanks to The Crown, according to one of Canberra’s top politicians
- MP says the show could halt calls for Australia to ditch Queen to be a republic
- Andrew Hastie said: ‘The Crown has mainstreamed the monarchy again’
- Australia elected a republican prime minister Anthony Albanese two months ago
- Monarchists called Prince George a ‘republican slayer’ on their tour in 2014
- The Queen has visited 16 times during her reign, her last tour their was in 2011
The Crown has come in for stinging criticism over the years for its dubious depiction of the Royal Family and its ups and downs.
But the controversial Netflix drama might just have saved the monarchy Down Under, a senior Australian MP has claimed.
Shadow defence minister Andrew Hastie says the show has revived interest in the Royals, which could see off calls for the country to ditch the Queen and become a republic.
Speaking in London, Mr Hastie said: ‘The Crown has mainstreamed the monarchy again in a way that people can engage with.
‘We can call into question the historicity [the historical accuracy] of The Crown, but nonetheless I think that the first series penetrated the popular [Australian] culture in a way that monarchists’ arguments, in a political sense, could never do.’
ENDEARING: The Crown’s depiction of Charles, Diana and William on tour
His comments, made to the Sydney Morning Herald at the Henry Jackson Society foreign policy think-tank, come at a time when Australians are looking afresh at the possibility of cutting ties with the monarchy.
Two months ago, the country elected an avowedly-republican prime minister in Labor’s Anthony Albanese, who appointed the country’s first-ever assistant minister for a republic.
The government has said it does not intend to call a referendum on the issue during its first term, but could propose it during its second, which would start in four years should it win another election.
The country last held a referendum on becoming a republic in 1999, when 55 per cent of Australians rejected the idea and said the Queen should remain head of state.
Monarchists, concerned that lead may have dwindled since then, have been boosted by visits from senior Royals. The Queen has visited 16 times during her reign, her last tour taking place in 2011.
Prince George, who won the hearts of many Australians when he accompanied parents William and Kate on their tour in 2014, was hailed as a ‘republican slayer’ by many monarchists. Now The Crown may have prompted similar sentiments among older Australians.
WINNING HEARTS: William, Kate and George meet a bilby at a Sydney zoo
The fourth series, which aired in 2020, featured the 1983 tour by Prince Charles, which was deemed a spectacular success thanks to the dazzling presence of Princess Diana and a very endearing nine-month-old Prince William.
Mr Hastie said he was a monarchist, adding: ‘I see the benefits of our system. If we were ever going to change it, I would want a good reason to do so.’
And reflecting on the national mood, he said: ‘I think there’s still a strong admiration for the Queen particularly and whether that transfers into enduring support for the monarchy is another question altogether but I think Netflix has a bit to answer for.’
It would be ironic if The Crown helped the monarchy after the torrent of criticism it drew for a string of historical inaccuracies.
In the first series, an episode was devoted to Prince Philip’s apparent refusal to kneel before his wife at the Coronation – something that never happened. He was also shown punching a fellow pupil at the Scottish boarding school Gordonstoun, another fiction.
One episode even hinted of a romance between the Queen and her racing manager, Lord Porchester, a rumour rooted in baseless gossip.
To become a republic, both houses of the Australian parliament would have to agree to a referendum, which would then have to secure both a national majority and a majority in four of the six states.