No Cook Islander can be head of state of the Cook Islands. And if Cook Islands ever plays England in the rugby or netball, our head of state will be in the Royal Box cheering for the English.
I remember writing a newspaper column after Princess Diana’s death in 1997. I argued we all had to take responsibility – the monarchy, the media, the public – for the demands we placed upon the Windsor family, for the monster we had created.
The British monarchy, as beloved as it is by many, has also been the face of an Empire that gave preferential treatment according to a person’s sex, their religious denomination, their nationality and who their parents were.
Now Prince Harry and his wife Meghan (remember, this is the woman whom the monarchy’s PR machine touted as the diverse, modern face of royalty) have said, enough is enough.
They no longer want to represent it. And who can blame them for wanting to forge their own path in life – isn’t that what we want for our own children? Who can blame Harry, who lost his own mother, for seeking a different life for his baby son Archie?
Tragically, the Royal Family seems unwilling to let them walk away. It is like the famous line from The Godfather: “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!”
Perhaps it is time for the small number of peoples who still bow to the Queen as their head of state to also say, enough. Cook Islands, New Zealand, Australia, Belize, Jamaica, Canada – we can take responsibility for ourselves.
We no longer need a family on the other side of the world (who, let’s be honest, know nothing about us and do not represent us) to tear themselves apart over the privilege of being our head of state.
- Jonathan Milne