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April 30, 2018 | by  | in News |
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A Meeting of Two Queens

In case you recently self-enforced a social media ban in the name of cram-writing essays and somehow missed this story: last week our Prime Minister visited Buckingham Palace. There, she greeted the Queen (for the second time) and mingled with dignitaries. She gave the official toast to the Commonwealth and classily rounded it off with a whakataukī in the process.

The English monarchs may not know how to stop fucking with places that don’t belong to them, and they may not know how to stay current in the 21st century. But you have to give it to them — they sure know how to put together a glitzy affair.

Before I go on, it is important that this piece be prefaced by confessing two biases of “sore-thumb” level prominence. The first is that my political views swing left. In fact they swing left so hard that my tombstone is destined to read: “Here lies Te Paea Hoori, died of hyperventilation after consuming a bottle of Banrock and proceeding to push her socialist agenda on unwitting bystanders at parties.” The second is that my vocation of choice is fashion design. And in case I didn’t already have enough of a blatant girl crush on Jacinda, I recently learned she does all of her own styling.

Kermit the Frog may believe he has the monopoly on difficult colours to wear but let me tell you — brown is not everybody’s colour. Cindy slays those earth tones though. She stepped out sporting a gown that showed off her baby bump brilliantly, wrapped in a stunning kahu huruhuru. The ensemble was a glorious slap in the face for mouthy conservatives that New Zealand is being led by an unmarried, hapū woman in her 30s.

Like a number of Kiwis, I have a love/hate relationship with the British monarchy. On one hand I resent colonialism on principle — many of my tūpuna fought arduously for Māori affairs and autonomy in the Northern Wars; the other hand I reserve for typing “The Crown” into Netflix and binge watching in secret contrition. I can’t be the only one who was overcome with this weird, disappointed melancholia when Harry announced his engagement to Meghan Markle. Like, I wasn’t planning on becoming a British princess any time soon but it was kind of nice having the option. Especially when I found out that wearing cute Alexander McQueen pantsuits is on the cards these days.

Interestingly, amongst a generation that isn’t known for their royalist sentiment, when the image of Jacinda and her man circulated the interweb, I noticed a hell of a lot of millenials throwing *crown emojis* and “yesss queen” comments about. Maybe I’m reading way too much into this, but for an age bracket that isn’t believed to have a vested interest in bloodline-based systems of power, collectively we’re pretty mad for the imagery. Is this a sign of residual affinity for the Windsor clan? Or has Bey’s branding and RuPaul’s Drag Race just got us in the mood for appropriating the terms?

Jacinda has voiced her opinion on the notion of dissolving ties with the monarchy in the past. She claims gaining republic status is not a priority right now, and I am inclined to agree. The Labour coalition Government have enough work cut out for them. It would appear, at least to me, that the general population is content to assume that the royal family are self-aware of their own irrelevance. Especially if it means our Prime Minister has an excuse to look fabulous and reverent for the culture of the country she is representing. Don’t worry Lizzie, no one is planning on booting you off our coins just yet — but maybe that’s just the secret royalist in me speaking.

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