The royal family can’t be bothered sending anyone to Sir Edmund Hillary’s funeral. Never mind that he was a Knight of the Garter, never mind that he was one of the greatest New Zealanders of the 20th century, never mind that New Zealanders care deeply about him, and have chosen to mark his death with a state funeral. They’re just not going to be there.
To be fair, no one could expect the Queen to travel to this funeral. She’s in her eighties, and her travelling days are over, especially at short notice. But there are plenty of royals who are perfectly capable of flying to New Zealand, if they cared to do so.
The Queen will visit the King’s Lynn Preservation Trust Limited to mark its Fiftieth Anniversary. Her Majesty will also open the new CT Scanners/Radiology Suite at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King’s Lynn.
The Duke of York United Kingdom Special Representative for International Trade and Investment, will attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
The Earl of Wessex will attend the Annual Banquet of the Worshipful Company of Pattenmakers at Mansion House, London EC4.
The Princess Royal Patron, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, will hold a Dinner at Palace of Holyroodhouse.
The Princess Royal will Launch the Lothians and Edinburgh Abstinence Programme at Malta House, 1 Malta Terrace, Edinburgh.
The Princess Royal Patron, Silver of the Stars, will open an Exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh.
The Duke of Gloucester Colonel-in-Chief, The Royal Army Medical Corps will receive Colonel David Morris upon relinquishing his appointment of Representative Colonel Commandant and Colonel Peter Roberts on assuming the appointment at Kensington Palace.”
I have blogged before about the rudeness of the royals. But this snub is much, much, worse. I am an avowed republican, and I would be delighted to shake off the last vestiges of bowing our heads to people just because they happened to have been born into the ruling family. But the Queen is New Zealand’s head of state, and she or a member of her family should be at this funeral, as a mark of respect to Ed Hillary, to New Zealand, and to the genuine sadness of New Zealanders everywhere. The only charitable construction I can put on this is that they are trying to send us a signal that they are irrelevant, and that New Zealand should become a republic. But who are they to tell us what our constitutional arrangements should be?
Time to toss these irrelevant, rude, snobs.