Who knows whether they have any constitutional future in this country, but they are professionals in one of the oddest trades around.
Note: This article is from the Guardian.
Royalty is a lot like war: hours of waiting interrupted by brief bursts of excitement. For those standing around for so long at the Opera House for the royal arrival, the excitement was brief indeed.
But it was visceral. When the couple arrived at last in a Holden flying a royal standard, the crowd started screaming. Moments before they were sweet and patient, then they were howling like kids at a boy band.
Sydney had done all it could. The day was perfect. Free flags were handed to children. A radio station was distributing placards that would look great on television: “Nova Loves Kate & Wills”.
Police in dress uniform were getting about with the air of kids who have to present their shoes and fingernails for inspection. Everyone was on their best behaviour. There was this odd sense on Bennelong Point that we were all under scrutiny.
Some in the crowd were unclear why they were there. Nerida Bourke had no doubt. She’d brought along a photograph of herself as a little girl in a crowd far bigger than this waving at the Queen in 1954.
Carmen Montgomery of Los Angeles brought a North American perspective to the event. “I love them,” she said. “They’re wonderful. But I couldn’t care less.” And still she waited.
A press minder positioned a little squad of photographers on the concourse. She explained: “We’re hoping they’ll turn around and do a moment with the bridge.” They did, when the time came, perfectly.
A magazine editor explained: “She sells. He doesn’t. George will.”
And then the motorbikes arrived and they were climbing out of the car. The crowd yelled. Their royal highnesses waved, climbed the stairs, waved and were gone. A voice cried: “One more wave, surely.”
But they had disappeared. Yet no one was disappointed. It seems royalty is forgiven everything, even making loyal citizens and curious tourists hang around for ever for nothing more than a glimpse.
Inside the Opera House a distinguished cross section of Australia drank champagne and ate crab sandwiches as the sun began to sink on the crowd outside.
And then they were suddenly there, standing alone under the arch of the Opera House. It was the million dollar shot. The screaming began again. Hardly anyone thought to wave their flags. Across the forecourt was a sea of upturned faces staring at the pair with astonishment and welcome.
She looks new to it. He seems to shelter her a little. She has a large stride and big hands. He fidgets, fixing his tie, scratching his eyebrows. They wave as if they are not entirely surprised but rather pleased with the reception.
It is a performance of great charm. Who knows whether these two have any constitutional future in this country but they are professionals in one of the oddest trades around.
On Man O’War steps they climbed into a police launch for the crossing of the harbour with another back-up launch to starboard and a rigid-hulled inflatable boat stuffed with police to port. The harbour was nearly empty except for one yacht cutting across the water in the last light.
The crowd dispersed happily, as if they’d been to a big game. Nova signs littered the forecourt. The delegation from Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy rolled up their banner: “Give Back What You Stole.”
At home everyone will be able see what really happened today – on television.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010