The Queen of New Zealand will grant the family of Sir Edmund Hillary the special honour of a memorial service in St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle this April, an extremely rare gift as far as these things go. This on top of being honoured with a State Funeral, now currently underway in Auckland. All for Sir Ed.
The Daily Telegraph: Lewis Holden "quick to cash in on controversy"
But nevermind all that, apparently emotions are running high in New Zealand, given the absence of any Royal at the funeral, and now the republican movement is suggesting the Queen is not fit to be New Zealand's head of state. The Daily Telegraph is even reporting that our dearly beloved Lewis Holden, "was quick to cash in on the controversy". Quick to cash in, eh. Lewis? Kaching!
Royal 'snub' over Sir Edmund Hillary Funeral
Emotions are running high since the death of Sir Edmund, the man whom many New Zealanders identify as their national figurehead.Wow. Nothing like taking advantage of a high profiled funeral to further your cause. Nothing like cashing in big. Sir Ed was a loyal subject and a Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter for Pete sakes. Why are they playing politics with this humble and loyal man's passing? For shame!
The New Zealand Herald, the biggest-selling newspaper, broke the news under the headline "Royal family snubs Sir Ed."
It noted that Sir Edmund's conquest of Mount Everest was proclaimed on the morning of the Queen's coronation in 1953.
"The Everest expedition was a British one, and Hillary's success was claimed as a huge triumph for Britain," the paper said, with more than a hint of resentment.
It added Sir Edmund was one of only 24 Knights of the Garter.
When the Herald invited readers to add their comments to its website, it was deluged with replies, mostly critical of the announcement from Buckingham Palace that the Queen would be represented by the Wellington-based Governor-General, Anand Satyanand.
"An appropriate response to the royal family not making themselves available to attend Sir Ed's funeral would be to make New Zealand a republic," wrote "Used Royalist (Dunedin)" in a reply typical of many.
Brendon Verry of Wellington said: "If they don't come it shows how little they mean to our country. The sooner we cut this colony tag and ties to a dying fraternity called the royal family the better."
"Peter" of Auckland offered: "Only a few days ago I was against any discussion about being a republic. The passing of Sir Ed is the start of a new era. Republic it needs and must be."
While from Britain, Ian Bennett, of Swaffham, Norfolk, commented: "Sadly the Queen's advisers have got it wrong again! How the Palace can stay aloof now beggars all description. If they were advocating republicanism in New Zealand through their remote aloofness they could not have done it better."
Aside from the website, New Zealand's Republican Movement was quick to cash in on the controversy. Lewis Holden, the chairman, said: "The absence of the royal family shows plainly they are not able to do the job for New Zealand.
"Sir Edmund Hillary's funeral is precisely the kind of occasion for which a New Zealand head of state would appropriately express the feelings of the New Zealand people."