Windsor knots

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Friday Forum
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For some the most important question of the weekend is what will the bride be wearing?

The bride in question is Pippa Middleton, the younger sister of Kate Middleton who is now known as Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge after marrying Prince William, second-in-line to the British throne and Australia’s potential future head of state.

So while it might not quite be a full royal wedding it will have some of the youngest royals playing a part with Prince George acting as a pageboy and Princess Charlotte as a mini-flower girl.

Prince Harry is also going and may bring along his girlfriend, Canadian actress Meghan Markle, for what would be their most high-profile public appearance to date.

The Queen could even attend, but whether Her Majesty turns up or not the wedding, which will have about 150 guests at the church and approximately 350 at the reception in the nearby Middleton’s 18-acre property in Berkshire, is being called the society event of the year.

As the frenzied worldwide media speculation on Prince Philip’s health before the recent announcement of his retirement shows, the British royals still generate incredible interest with the younger set giving the family and institution a renewed glamour.

This could be seen as bad news for Australia’s republicans, with their cause seemingly largely stalled despite the co-founder and former leader of the Australian Republican Movement sitting in the Prime Minister’s office.

Malcolm Turnbull told last year’s 25th anniversary dinner for the Australian Republican Movement that he didn’t expect Australia would become a republic until after the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.

Some might trace a republican fervour back 1975 to when the Queen’s representative Governor-General John Kerr sacked the Whitlam Government.

However, the relative stability of a constitutional monarchy is an argument often deployed in its favour, with the major original European republic in France needing five overhauls to date.

In America, the presidential model could be tested like never before.

There has been much talk that President Donald Trump could be impeached as controversies continue to surround his and his supporters’ dealings with the Russians.

The firing of FBI director James Comey who was investigating those links and the recent appointment of a special prosecutor to look into the issue has raised the distinct possibility of impeachment.

A president can only be removed if both houses of Congress vote to convict on an articles of impeachment.

Two presidents, Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson, have undergone impeachment, with Richard Nixon resigning before it began, but both were acquitted by a Senate vote so the validity of removing an elected head of state has never been fully tested.

The question of what would happen if President Trump was convicted but refused to step down is one The Guardian struggled to answer.

It concluded that “a Trump refusal to go along with prospective impeachment proceedings is certainly easy to imagine. In which case: who controls the military?”

Uncertainties such as this might convince some Australians that it is not just the sparkle attached to Windsors that makes the current arrangement one we should remain wedded to.

On this week’s Friday Forum: Is the prospect of an Australian republic an increasingly distant one?

Image: Jimmy Harris/Flickr 

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