Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing

This morning’s Australian newspaper’s front-page article was headlined: “Prince Charles backed Sir John Kerr on dismissal of Gough Whitlam”. Now we all know that newspapers create fictitious headlines to get a reader’s attention and this is no different.

When you read the substance of the article, which is a letter written by Prince Charles on 27 March 1976, you find a young man writing compassionately in the hope that the incessant attacks on the Governor-General would not cause him to become depressed.

The only words which may be said to be controversial are: “Please don't lose heart. What you did last year was right and the courageous thing to do - and most Australians seemed to endorse your decision when it came to the point.”

Prince Charles was speaking from hindsight following the vote on 13 December 1975 which, in itself, can be taken to be an endorsement for the actions of the Governor-General by the majority of the Australian electorate. That vote saw a massive vote against the Whitlam government leading to a 30-seat loss.

However, it would have been better had His Royal Highness not said “what you did last year was right” as it leads to people to assume that these words represent an involvement in Australian politics, which was clearly not the intention when you read the entirety of the letter which was one solely of kindness and compassion.

As Shakespeare in ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ wrote:

“Note this before my notes:
There's not a note of mine that's worth the noting.”

A copy of His Royal Highnesses letter is below in text form.

Philip Benwell
National Chair
Australian Monarchist League

27 March 1976

Dear Sir John,

I happened to read in The Times today a report of your visit
to the Australian National University on the occasion of Sir
Morrice James's retirement. It looked as though some of the
students gave you a fairly tough time - if the newspapers
can be believed - and I wanted to write and say how much I
sympathise with you.

I do hope you don't worry too much about these sort of
demonstrations and stupidities - and I hope Lady Kerr doesn't
either - because, if it is of any comfort, every time I go to a
university there seems to be a demonstration or "scene" of one
sort or another! When I went to Hobart university the last
time I was in Australia they had a demonstration in favour
of the I.R.A., which infuriated me, and then rained flour and
water bombs on me from the windows! In Wales, when I first
started going there, there were demonstrations practically
everywhere I went with people shouting and screaming and
waving ridiculous placards about.

I mention all this just in case you may be getting somewhat
depressed or dejected with your role, as I remember we
discussed the problems briefly at Sandringham in January.

I can imagine that you must have come in for all sorts of
misinformed criticism and prejudice since I saw you in January
and I wanted you to know that I, at any rate, appreciate what
you do and admire enormously the way you have performed
(and continue to perform) your many and varied duties.

Please don't lose heart. What you did last year was right and
the courageous thing to do - and most Australians seemed to
endorse your decision when it came to the point.

Please give Lady Kerr my best regards -

Yours most sincerely



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