New Zealander’s favourite royal revealed

As New Zealand celebrate the Queen's birthday, we asked Paul Henry and Alison Mau what they really think about the monarchy.

Queen Elizabeth and the monarchy are safe in the hands of The Australian Women’s Weekly readers according to the results of our exclusive poll. On the occasion of the Queen’s 90th birthday we thought we’d take the pulse of our readers to see how they felt about the royal family and their impact on New Zealanders.

Most of you love the Queen and everything she stands for: “I admire the Queen’s dedication and that she’s still doing her duty at her age, when others have long retired,” said one reader. Another said the Queen is someone to respect and admire, who sets a good example: “The royal family gives us someone to hold as special, and give our country a link to history through our connection to them.”

The Queen was most popular with readers in the 65-plus age group, and least popular in the 30-39 age group with only 50 per cent saying they thought the British monarchy was good for New Zealand.

Three-quarters of readers polled felt that the Queen does a fantastic job, but one-third were also ambivalent about the benefit of royal visits: “I wouldn’t mind the visits if we did not pay for them,” said one reader.

“Royalty should pay their own way when visiting overseas countries. New Zealand can’t really be expected to continually host them at the country’s expense, particularly now that [Britain] is making it difficult for Kiwis to live and work in the UK.”

A majority of our readers – 67 per cent – felt it was not time for Charles to become King, but if the Queen does step down, then many felt William should take over.

Seven out of 10 readers feel the monarchy is good for New Zealand.

“The monarchy provides stability for New Zealand. While it may seem an anachronism, the alternative makes me nervous,” said one reader.

Although other readers are ready to let the monarchy go: “England is not interested in New Zealand in any way so we should feel no obligation to them or the monarchy,” said one.

“I would like New Zealand to become a republic but still be part of the Commonwealth. I am disgusted that New Zealand foots the bill for royal visits – the cost should be shared equally between the host country and the British government.”

And when it comes to who should be the next monarch, Prince William is favoured over Charles: “Prince Charles gave away his right to the throne when he took up with the Parker-Bowles woman. Who could really trust the man to be our King, when he could not even be an honest husband? William is looking to be more of an honest example like his grandmother.”

“William has done much to help move the monarchy into the 21st century. He will make a great King. Charles is clever and talented, however he is out of touch with the real world. If he becomes King I predict the demise of the monarchy and New Zealand will become a republic.”

When it comes to the popularity of the royals you told us that your favourite royal is not Kate, William or George, but the lovable rogue Prince Harry. “I like Harry as he is a bit more real and honest,” said a reader.

We also asked some prominent Kiwi’s what they think about royalty and our future within the monarchy.

Paul Henry answers the question, should we have a monarchy?

It’s a real regret of mine that by responding to your request to say something about New Zealand becoming a republic, I am engaging in the discussion. Ultimately we will become a republic, but that is a very long way off and I do not want to discuss it at this early stage. It is too far off, why start discussing it now? It is simply a distraction we (as a country) do not need.

Rosie Horton

The monarchy is very relevant with the Queen as its head. When Michael and I spent time talking to her, from the minute she heard we were from New Zealand, she was interested and engaged with us in such a positive and delightful way; we could never doubt her interest in our country and New Zealanders. We found her vitality extraordinary. Once our generation dies, things may change. Other generations will not have had the relationship with the monarchy and the Commonwealth we have had.

Deborah Pead

I place democracy ahead of hereditary privilege and believe the monarchy is part of our past. New Zealand’s identity is not dependent on the monarchy, and the royal family – while loved by many – has become less relevant to modern New Zealand. Once the Queen’s heir takes the throne I sense the mood towards becoming a republic will accelerate. We no longer receive benefits for being part of the Commonwealth, our kids have to stand in the same queues for a work permit, and we don’t get a free pass through the EU. The 43 per cent who voted in favour of a new flag indicates there is an appetite for change.

Alison Mau

Although we all go a bit gaga over the younger royals when they visit, everyone except the most staunch of royalists (like my mum!) forget all about them when they’re gone. They’ve become a nice-to-have, rather than a functioning part of New Zealand, and no matter how cute Prince George is, it’s time we put our big pants on and became a republic. We already function as one; the Queen, although our titular ruler, has never had any real say in the running of this country. Most of the unease appears to lie with the question of who would make a decent president. It would be a mark of our maturity as a nation to tackle this one head-on; and as a bonus, we would then have a real reason to change the flag.

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