Royal commentators have been warning all week that the presence of Harry and Meghan (and their two small children) could overshadow the Queen during her historic celebration. This became a self-fulfilling prophecy by ramping up attention on the pair.
“Sources close to the couple” had given assurances they weren’t planning to upstage Her Maj. Good of them.
But why would they want to be back celebrating the institution they escaped and vilified?
Wouldn’t Harry be triggered by all those clicking cameras he’s so studiously avoided since taking himself off to enjoy privacy on US chat shows where he and Meghan have vented about Tiara-gate, Tights-gate, alleged racism and failure to enquire if one was OK?
They’d fled to LA to establish the court of the Dook and Duchess of casual wear and compassion.
She would wear short shorts and he’d wear his baseball cap the wrong way round, they’d nurture hens and their sense of their own importance, change the world one act of self-promotion at a time and earn lots and lots and lots of money on the back of their royal links.
Viewed from the 16 bathroomed splendour of a £11m mansion in Montecito, what could possibly go wrong?
As it turns out, quite a lot. Starting with Oprah, the whinging and the “recollections may vary” rebuke from Granny.
They were raking in millions left, right and centre and planning global domination. But Netflix dumped Pearl, Meghan’s cartoon creation, on Spotify they’ve produced precious little, and generally they’ve attracted much derision.
One jaw-dropper was a bizarre appearance by the Duchess on the Ellen DeGeneres show where she chugged a baby bottle and wittered nonsense. She’s said to harbour political ambitions. If so, that footage will return to haunt her.
The aim of her birthday initiative 40x40 was supposedly to help women into the workforce but the grandiose plan that it would have a ripple effect around the world came to naught. In the launch video clown Prince Harry could be seen juggling balls outside the window. Hilarious it wasn’t.
Harry hasn’t been doing a great job either, in juggling his man-of-the-people spiel with his gilded lifestyle. His dressed down polo shirt says one thing, his polo playing with an elitist LA team say another.
He lectures on eco issues — occasionally in his bare feet. With his own carbon footprint, due to private jetting, some might say he’d be better advised to put a sock in it.
A new poll in the UK shows he and Megs are only spared coming bottom of the royal popularity chart thanks to disgraced Uncle Andy. As they entered St Paul’s yesterday the jeers were as loud as the cheers. That must have stung.
In the US the couple made the big mistake of slagging off and distancing themselves from the very thing that gave them initial drawing power.
That royal allure turns out to is a bit like a suntan. Once you move away from the main source, it starts to fade a bit.
And staying relevant is a tricky balance.
This week Meghan flew hundreds of miles (reportedly by private jet) to lay flowers at a shrine to the 19 children slaughtered in the school massacre in Uvalde.
She said she was there in a ‘personal capacity’. What other capacity does she have?
It’s understandable that she would have been deeply moved by the loss of those young lives. We all were. But the pics of her kneeling, surrounded by cameras, inevitably led to accusations that she was using a tragedy to promote herself.
This week the ageing Queen, hoping to re-establish family unity, has welcomed them back into the fold to celebrate her Jubilee.
For the Royal household, after all the back-biting and damaging accusations, it was a bold and gracious gesture. Although surely awkward all round.
So what do the Sussexes get out of it? The Duke and Duchess of Decreasing Clout may have come to realise that they need the Firm more than the Firm needs them.
They are back where they started — only no longer centre stage. And being booed.
But Harry and Meghan have been treated with magnanimity by the monarch. Whether they will respond in kind is another question.
In Jubilee canine news, it’s reported that corgis are making a comeback.
Due to appearances on TV series The Crown and this week’s celebration, the corgi, by appointment to Her Majesty, is now top dog.
At their peak of popularity, in the 50s, they’re said to have numbered around 1,000. Which still doesn’t seem like a lot.
Later they almost became extinct.
So good news for the breed that they’re back in vogue although hopefully for them, this won’t be a passing fashion phase.
A dog is for life not just for the Jubilee.
Rebekah Vardy v Coleen Rooney. Johnny Depp v Amber Heard. Next up; Van Morrison v Robin Swann? Libel cases rarely do anyone any favours. Johnny Depp has emerged victorious this week — but at what cost to his long term reputation? And while Amber Heard really did herself no favours, her global vilification is appalling. So nobody emerges as a winner. Except, as ever, the lawyers. In this case it’s Depp’s very hands-on attorney, Camille Vasquez. Forget the actor and actress. A star is born.
Michael O’Leary, the Ryanair CEO, is calling for the army to be sent in to sort the chaos at airports. You might think it’s a fair suggestion given that scenes from some departure lounges already resemble a warzone. The problem is that any time there’s a crisis over staffing issues anywhere these days, there are calls for the troops to be sent in. This is disrespectful to the men and women in the armed services. The check-in frontline isn’t what they signed up for. Besides which, it makes the battlefield look like a dawdle.