8 May 2023

When it comes to royal merch, let's just crack on - and let it reign all over us

| Sally Hopman
Start the conversation
Royal plate

The likeness is simply uncanny – a cracker of a tribute to our newly minted King and Queen consort on the occasion of their marriage in 2005. Photos: Sally Hopman.

Don’t know why, but when I looked up what time the coronation broadcast started on Australian TV, I felt quite comforted that cyberspace had translated it into, “What time does Coronation Street start?”.

How can reducing something to the status of a soapie be a bad thing? At least it’s clean and wholesome. And apparently Charles’ former Mrs, Diana, loved watching Corro. She could so identify with it. Maybe not so much with that fat woman whose curlers looked araldited to her head.

Then there’s the fact a rather nice bevvy is (almost) named after the Corona-tion. Almost, because clearly drunk on too much champagne at a cost of a kingdom for a bottle, the maker forgot to spell it correctly, leaving the “tion” orf.

I do love a bit of pomp and ceremony, clearly like all the millions of Aussies who had a legit excuse to plonk down on their favourite throne at some/any pub with the name Royal on Saturday night, and wait for the heads to roll. Probably only their own, because being so drunk, they probably wouldn’t have noticed other people’s.

READ ALSO Vale Barry Humphries: Australia’s lost a comic genius and a man who held the mirror up to a nation

Yes, the event made fabulous television. Even the royals one thought were long-lost dead, or at least hadn’t been seen to move for a while, made an appearance or were at least rolled out or propped up for the occasion. Sitting at home, we applauded them, and clapped at the TV screen every time one of the really old ones showed signs of life.

I mean, these are important people. Some of them are in snowdomes or appeared on tea towels when they married. And almost all of them have little people to spread their toothpaste for them when they’re feeling too bristled to do it for themselves.

How chuffed would you be to have a piece of merch in your honour? Cups, saucers, mugs, flying floaty things, dolls, corgis. By jove, how positively ripping.

Not long before she died a few years ago, an elderly friend of mine gave me her small but perfectly formed collection of royal memorabilia – because I had once, clearly under the influence of her tea, which was so strong it could pour its own milk, told her one of them was pretty.

Royal tin of chocolates

When there’s a reason to collect royal merch … when chocolates are involved. Too bad if the marriage doesn’t work out.

You know what happens … once people see more than one kind of stuff in your house, they assume you collect it. I have learned to live with this collection – mainly because after she died I wrapped up all the bits of it and boxed it away somewhere over her rainbow – so well that I don’t quite remember where. I am very good a hiding things from myself – it helps if you just don’t look.

There’s only been one time when I’ve voluntarily bought a piece of royal merch for myself – ok, two times and you can’t blame me because the other one involved a tin with chocolates inside and mostly Diana’s face on the outside.

READ ALSO Keep it real, Big Brother and all the family are watching … you

It was in that place that is literally a treasure trove for the stuff I proudly, although a little shakily, collect, snowdomes – the shop of op. It was a commemorative plate, distributed by that British newspaper of renown, The Daily Express, of Charles and Camilla, to commemorate their connubials.

The plate artist – who knew there was such a gift to have – did a cracker of a job. The resemblance was uncanny, certainly not unplate-y. It took the cake – a good thing since it was actually a plate. But of course I could never use it as such. I forked out a meagre $2 for it – but between you and me, I would have paid a king’s ransom, up to $2.50, for such a treasure.

Original Article published by Sally Hopman on Riotact.

Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Want the best Illawarra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Illawarra stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.