Don't kiss me Kate Middleton

Kate Middleton is a very brave person. She will need to be. She isn't just taking a husband. She is also marrying into a family of serial misbehavers, and she is also wedding the world's media of which the English royal media are the most petty and intrusive.

The Royal Family in the UK is the only soap opera that has been running longer than Coronation Street, and like them or not, both still entertain millions.

I feel sorry for Kate, because with a simple yes, she has surrendered her right ever to be herself again. She is now the property of the world - forever.

In her defence she has taken a long time about it, from which I deduce that she has thought about marriage to the heir but one to the throne and all that entails for a long time and decided to go ahead. I hope she knows what she is doing, because one thing is clear about royal marriages: love is not enough.

The other interesting thing about Kate is that she is decidedly middle class. Matt McCarten may be right to see the marriage as a victory for the middle class, but arguably it is also a devaluing of the royal brand.

One of the things that sustain the myth of the value of royalty is the quaint idea that they are somehow better than the rest of us. It is total nonsense of course, but marrying down as William is doing chips away at the mythology.

Far more damage was done by the adulterous behaviour of William's father Charles, and the undoing of the marriages of his uncle Andrew, and aunts Anne and Margaret. If the royals cannot set a good example and a proper moral tone, what is the point of having them at all?

Of course if it were up to me, we won't. I have long endorsed the idea that New Zealand should become a republic within the Commonwealth (like India, South Africa and others) with our own elected head of state.

There are those in New Zealand who still think that royalty has some constitutional significance. They have none as far as I can see. We select our own Governors General now. (And they are all Kiwis Paul Henry). So having Parliament select a Governor General would likely result in the same kind of person becoming our head of state as we have at present. Someone who is safe, uncontroversial, perhaps a bit dull, but non partisan and trusted to do and say the right things.

We might get a different kind of person if there were direct elections (which I favour) but a shift to being a republic would be a  very small step really. We'd scarcely notice the difference. Pass a simple bill in Parliament declaring all references to the Crown to now refer to the Republic of New Zealand and it's sorted by lunchtime.

If the marriage of Kate and Wills triggers some kind of self examination about a republic something good may come from it after all.