Buckingham Palace feared increasing ‘non-British’ immigrants would doom the monarchy in Australia

Wonder whether they had similar fears for Canada (but Canada never had referendums on the monarchy):

Buckingham Palace feared the monarchy would collapse in Australia because of an influx of postwar ‘non-British’ immigrants, newly released correspondence reveals.

Letters exchanged between Governor-General Sir John Kerr and the Queen’s private secretary Sir Martin Charteris were finally released today after four decades.

Along with providing bombshell revelations on Sir John’s decision to dismiss Gough Whitlam’s government in 1975, they reveal how the Palace saw Australia.

Sir Martin believed that without more frequent visits from The Queen and other royals, a more multicultural country would ditch the monarchy.

A year after the dismissal, Sir John wrote to Sir Martin – by then his frequent pen pal – to voice his concerns about the monarchy’s future in Australia.

‘I have been musing about the monarchy as an institution in our part of the world’, he wrote on December 19, 1976.

‘In 1947, 98 per cent [of Australians] were of British stock. By the 1971 census only 88 per cent were so derived.’

Sir John noted that most of these non-British immigrants were Italians, Greeks, Yugoslavs and Germans – but there were many other nationalities.

‘Our immigrants come from over one hundred countries including, for example, Egypt and Turkey, Lebanon and other Arab countries.

‘Increasingly, but not yet significantly, we have Asians. Most of these, and most who have come from Europe are from republics and are not directly acquainted with monarchy.’

A year after the dismissal, Sir John wrote to Sir Martin - by now his frequent penpal - with concerns about the monarchy's future in Australia

A year after the dismissal, Sir John wrote to Sir Martin – by now his frequent penpal – with concerns about the monarchy’s future in Australia

Sir Martin replied that the 'increasing non-British element in Australia’s ethnic make up' had 'significant ramifications for the monarchy

Sir Martin replied that the ‘increasing non-British element in Australia’s ethnic make up’ had ‘significant ramifications for the monarchy

Sir Martin replied that the ‘increasing non-British element in Australia’s ethnic make up’ had ‘significant’ ramifications for the monarchy.

‘It is one of the reasons why the monarchy in Australia could not, I believe, long remain a reality without more frequent visits by the Sovereign than was customary in the first half of this century,’ he wrote.

‘The days when The Sovereign of Australia could remain in London, and still remain acceptable are, I think, long past; new immigrants, changing values… would all make this impossible, as well, of course as being wholly undesirable.’

In other letters, the pair discussed movements campaigning for an Australian republic but believed they were formed by a small number of ‘left-wing’ rabble rousers.

Australia held a referendum in November 1999 on whether the country should become a republic, but it was comfortably defeated.

The 211 letters, thousands of pages in all, contain many revelations about the lead-up to and aftermath of the dismissal as Sir John wrestled with what to do.

Also revealed is Mr Whitlam’s ‘rage’ at being ousted and the extent of the backlash against Sir John.

The letters finally showed that the Queen did not order Sir John to dismiss Mr Whitlam.

It has long been speculated that Her Majesty may have undermined Australia’s independence by trying to influence Sir John’s decision.

The letters appear to indicate that the Queen and Sir John did not communicate, at least not directly, and Kerr’s correspondence was only with Sir Martin.

Palace allies battled for decades to keep the documents – which also include correspondence from Her Majesty’s then-private secretary, Martin Charteris – secret, with the National Archives of Australia refusing to release them to the public.

The letters had been deemed personal communication by both the National Archives of Australia and the Federal Court, which meant the earliest they could be released was 2027, and only then with the Queen’s permission.

But the High Court bench earlier this year ruled the letters were property of the Commonwealth and part of the public record, and so must be released.

Source: Buckingham Palace feared increasing ‘non-British’ immigrants would doom the monarchy in Australia

Retour discret des toiles de Pellan aux Affaires étrangères | Le Devoir

li-pellan2-620Progress:

Alfred Pellan est de retour au ministère des Affaires étrangères. Les deux toiles du peintre québécois, qui avaient été écartées du hall d’entrée du ministère au profit d’un portrait de la reine Elizabeth II, sont de retour… timidement, sur un mur adjacent.

Les deux tableaux avaient été remplacés à la veille de la visite du prince William et de sa femme Kate, à l’été 2011. Plutôt que les peintures colorées du peintre québécois, les diplomates et visiteurs du ministère sont désormais accueillis par une grande reproduction d’un portrait de la reine, jonché au-dessus du comptoir de la réception — où se trouvaient les Pellan depuis l’inauguration de l’édifice par la reine en 1973.

I suspect that any change of government would result in a quick reversal of the current government’s fetish for all things related to the Monarchy, including in our missions abroad.

Retour discret des toiles de Pellan aux Affaires étrangères | Le Devoir.

The monarchy hurts Canada’s standing in the world. It’s time to let go – Heinbecker

Paul Heinbecker on the monarchy. His vignette about their role in promoting British interests, not those of Commonwealth countries, is priceless – and all too accurate:

The royal family themselves are under no illusion about who they are – British; where they live – Britain; and what they represent – the United Kingdom. When I was posted to Bonn in the nineties, Queen Elizabeth paid an official visit to Berlin largely to promote British industry. Ambassadors from Commonwealth countries were convened to Berlin, at their countries’ expense, to greet the Queen (in reality a photo-op). Because there were Canadian firms in Germany that could have used some high-level support, and because my credentials said that it was in her name and on her behalf that I was accredited as the Ambassador of Canada to Germany, I decided to test what the Monarchists’ assertions – that she is our Queen, too – meant in practice.

Not much, as it turned out. I asked an aide at the photo-op whether while promoting UK business her majesty might put in a good word for Canadian business too. It was evident from his reaction that such an idea was as unwelcome as it was novel. Years later, Kate and William, following their rapturous welcome in Canada, headed to Hollywood where they promoted British artists. Plus ça change…

How do we remove this asterisk when we have manacled ourselves to the Crown by a constitution that requires the agreement of all of the legislatures of the provinces and both houses of the Parliament to change? We can start by again treating the Governor General as the de facto head of state in all ways that the constitution does not actually preclude. The incumbent, like his predecessors, is a successful, distinguished, bilingual Canadian who personifies the values and aspirations of Canadians better than any royal ever could. He should represent Canada on all occasions of state at home and abroad, for example on D-Day anniversaries. All “honours” would be imparted in the GG’s name. Further, we should change the Oath of Citizenship to require new Canadians to swear allegiance not to “to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors…” but just to Canada, and to the Canadian Constitution and rule of law.

When the day comes that Canadians are ready to change the Constitution in order to reform the Senate, we should also de-link from the monarchy and select our own Head of State. We could do so, for example, by empowering the 1050 elected members of the federal parliament and legislative assemblies across the country to elect a Governor-General from the membership of the Order of Canada. All powers vested in the monarch would be transferred to the Governor-General whose title could remain the same in deference to our history. In the meantime, we should prepare for that joyous day by retiring the portraits of the royal family from our foreign ministry and offices abroad and curtailing royal visits to Canada. And we should elect a government willing to make these changes.

The monarchy hurts Canada’s standing in the world. It’s time to let go – The Globe and Mail.

Monarchy’s role in government: Most Canadians want fixes, but how? – The Globe and Mail

Good discussion of some of the issues around the monarchy and suggestions for more written clarity regarding the power of the prime minister in relation to the legislature. Other governments have done so without undermining the role of the monarchy; and the article also lists a number of other options that could go further.

Not likely to happen given any debate would be divisive but good to have a range of options laid out and discussed.

Monarchy’s role in government: Most Canadians want fixes, but how? – The Globe and Mail.

Canada’s misguided monarchists

Andrew Cohen’s take on the monarchy. He makes a valid point about how our general fascination with celebrities, and celebrity culture, overwhelms the substance of the monarchy. But I don’t share the urgency of the ‘natural evolution’ and shedding the monarchy; it is part of our history and heritage, is fully embedded in our institutions, generally works well, and change would be a distraction to more pressing issues. On the other hand, changing the oath ….

Canada’s misguided monarchists.

Sorry, republicans, the monarchy is here to stay – The Globe and Mail

Good overview of the embedded nature of the Crown and Monarchy in Canada.

Sorry, republicans, the monarchy is here to stay – The Globe and Mail.

Chretien chose not to scrap oath to Queen at last minute, ex-minister says – The Globe and Mail

Understandable, given the context of the times (referendum on Quebec independence). The citizenship study guide at the time, A Look at Canada, was remarkably light on history and steered away from any potential controversy, likely also reflecting some of these sensitivities.

Chretien chose not to scrap oath to Queen at last minute, ex-minister says – The Globe and Mail.

Prêter serment à la Reine est discriminatoire selon de futurs citoyens | Le Devoir

Every now and then, a similar case comes before the courts. Not likely to change under the current government given its ‘fetish’ for all things related to the monarchy.

Prêter serment à la Reine est discriminatoire selon de futurs citoyens | Le Devoir.

Australia, of course, did change its oath and remove the references to the monarchy but kept its traditional flag, reflecting the British connection.

Poll points to lagging support for monarchy and universal pride in medicare – Need to know – Macleans.ca

Poll points to lagging support for monarchy and universal pride in medicare – Need to know – Macleans.ca.

The Queen of Canada is dead; long live the British Queen – Canada, News & Politics, Politics – Macleans.ca

The Queen of Canada is dead; long live the British Queen – Canada, News & Politics, Politics – Macleans.ca.