The crowd in front of Flinders St Station

Today, I put my republican hat aside and went to visit the Queen. Well, technically, that’s not true. She came to visit me.

She was due at Fed Square at 12.15, and, being the queen and all, you’d expect her to be on time. Not so. Even though she had just four hours in the city before nicking off to Perth, she dallied and the crowd spent an hour mooching around the intersection in front of Flinders St Station. It was curiously silent as everyone waited to catch a glimpse of Liz II.

The crowd around me was mostly Chinese tourists and office workers who’d stepped out to do something different in their lunchhour.

Melbourne turned on the sunshine, so all the whiteys turned a gentle pink by the time she turned up. Me, I blame Melbourne trams. They never can run on time. Not even for the queen. If you weren’t aware, the Queen was travelling one leg on a new Royal Tram (or its decoy), complete with the usual vomitous-green seat upholstery that really should be burned.

I can confidently report that the Queen is On Trend. Her shocking pink ensemble was the dictionary definition of colour blocking, which is of course so hot right now. She certainly was the brightest note in a sea of Melbourne black, matching beautifully the newly sunburnt bald heads around me.

“I just saw her!” shrieked a British office worker behind me. “I saw someone wearing pink!” The crowd got collective whiplash following her pointing finger.

We watched as car after car was laden with flowers and teddy bears, then realised we were on the wrong side of the intersection, though nobody really knew quite where she was going to appear. She could have dropped in from the helicopters circling above, for all we knew.

The Queen did pay for her tram ride (with a pre-paid card, so she didn’t have to buggerise around looking for coins). Obviously she’s heard about the crackdown on fare evaders. The question of the day is: was the crowd bigger than the crowd that
turned out to greet the two rival football teams in the grand final a
few weeks ago?

The running joke of this royal visit is that the Queen didn’t feel the need to visit Sydney: there are enough queens there already.