COMMENT

Our say | Love affair with the monarchy not over yet

AUSTRALIA seemed to forget about the federal election for just a day on Tuesday as we took in the news that the royal family had grown by one.

After weeks of anticipation, speculation and the odd conspiracy theory, the news that the Duchess of Sussex had given birth to a healthy baby boy finally broke overnight Monday, our time - as most of us were tucked up in bed.

And what a thoroughly modern announcement it was, with the royals turning to Twitter to reveal the happy news before a clearly ecstatic Prince Harry later faced the gathered media to share his excitement.

Naturally, social media went into overdrive with well wishers sending their regards to the royal couple and others (including this newspaper, admittedly) ruminating over what the new royal might be named.

But did it reveal more than just the excitement that comes with every newborn?

The fact a newly married woman was a little overdue while expecting her first baby should barely have created a ripple on the world stage, let alone a tsunami.

But that is the reality of the information age, an age where information and speculation are two sides of the same coin.

News can spread across the globe more quickly than ever, but so can idle gossip and misinformation.

What this latest kerfuffle does show, again, is that while many believe it's only a matter of time until Australia becomes a republic, the nation remains in the thrall of the royals.

The fascination of the Australian population and Australian media with Harry and Meghan - just like William and Kate - again reveals a country that still holds great affection, and great respect, for the royals.

Queen Elizabeth II has been on the throne longer than most Australians have been alive and has been a rare constant in a world that is changing at an alarming rate.

And just as we're pleased to report that the newest royal is now very much alive and well, it would seem that so, too, is the monarchy.

Who knows what the future will hold?

It may be the case that the queen's death will not clear the way for an Australian republic, as previously thought, but instead prompt a strengthening of our country's regard for the monarchy.

And then it will just be a question of whether Twitter anoints Charles or William to become our head of state.