Lindy McDowell: The House of Windsor isn’t a halfway house... Harry and Meghan should be stripped of all their titles
Ladies and gentlemen, the duchess has left the building... after a week in which Harry and Meghan put the cat among the corgis with the bombshell announcement that they are "stepping back" from royal duties (in order to make millions off the back of their royal titles), the Duchess of Sussex, it is reported, has already stepped back to Canada.
That "stepping back" line is such a great one, isn't it?
Because His Royal Harryness and Megs aren't stepping back at all. They're stepping off in a more lucrative direction. And in the process stepping all over the rest of us.
While picking up their P45s from the Royal Firm, they still intend to hang on to fringe benefits, such as their recently revamped multi-million pound "cottage". Plus the millions they rake in from Harry's da every year via the Duchy of Cornwall.
And, of course, those titles.
Without their titles the Duke and Duchess are just plain old Harry and Meghan Wales-Markle. And who in American celeb circles wants to rub shoulders with a has-been dook?
Their statement this week was detailed and carefully composed.
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This wasn't something Harry and Meg rattled out on an iPad over a bottle of Duchy red.
Nor did it come entirely out of the blue. There was an indication that the pair were plotting some sort of commercial enterprise when it was revealed recently that they'd been seeking copyright for a staggering range of merchandise.
They make Fergie look like an amateur.
Yet the anger now directed at Harry and Meghan is about more than the tawdry possibility of cashing in on their royal titles. There's a genuine sense of betrayal.
The way the statement was released is very clearly a slap in the face for the 93-year-old Queen, who is also, of course, Harry's grandmother.
For a pair who style themselves as humanitarians the high-handed way they have handled this goes beyond rude and nasty. It's downright brutal.
And William - what must it be like for William? The brother to whom he was once so close now is signalling the setting up of a rival, celeb-infested court.
For Meghan, this fracturing of family relationships is not a new thing. But for the current generation of royals it is unprecedented.
Not since the days of Henry VIII have so many royal relatives been lopped off in so short a time.
And while we're talking collateral damage, let's not forget about us.
You and me, the taxpayers who fund the whole shebang.
Do we get our money back from Harry and Meghan now that they've launched themselves on the trail of mega-riches?
Or are they so contemptuous of taxpayers they still see us as their default ATM?
If the Sussexes truly found their current royal role and attendant media interest as ghastly as they've been making out, you could understand them deciding to walk away from it all. Completely.
Their cunning gameplan reveals just the opposite. They're seeking more attention, not less. With compulsory media toadying. And "financial independence".
This is about greed not grievance.
Which is why, as Harry and Meghan head off down the celebrity route, I think they should be stripped of their titles. All their titles. Including Baron and Baroness Kilkeel. And they should be turfed out of Frogmore.
The House of Windsor can't be a halfway house. You're either in or you're out. You can't have it both ways.
The Queen has now ordered a way ahead is found pronto. But how can she and other members of her family ever again trust the underhand, overbearing Sussexes?
Better a clean break, then, than semi-detached royal status for this preening pair.
In the immortal words of The King: "We can't go on together with suspicious minds."
Couple to cash in royally
Back to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex again - and I'm especially intrigued by their move to copyright merchandise.
Have previous royals missed a trick in failing to similarly 'brand'? Instead of all his crusading, wouldn't Richard the Lionheart have been better staying home and copyrighting those chainmail tunics?
And how about the King John Magna Carta calendar? Not to mention Mary, Queen of Scotch...
Real killer move by Trump
It's been quite a week for nuclear button-pushing. Not just Harry and Meghan, in a figurative sense, but on a much more serious level Mr Trump's effort in trying to get World War III up and running.
The talk is now of "de-escalating tensions". But with Donald in command, who's to say what happens next.
He seemed a bit odd and breathless in that Press conference he gave this week. Is the pressure getting to him?
Ricky strikes gold with ego bashing
If there was a Golden Globe for putting a brave face on hurt feelings it would go collectively to the attendees at this year's awards ceremony.
A reflection of the high calibre of acting talent in the audience was how they all laughed so gaily as host Ricky Gervais ripped into them, advising Hollywood's wokerati, in his own inimitable way, just where they could stick their sanctimony, their virtue-signalling and their private jets.
There speaks a man for all of us.
It was glorious.
Nobody wanted to hear their preaching, he told them.
So, when they came up to receive their awards, they should confine themselves to thanking their agent, thanking their god and then making their way back to their seats.
Or words to that effect.
At that point you can imagine a few acceptance speeches being hastily abridged to remove the traditional diatribe about what an ogre Donald Trump is and just wanting to say to any little girl how she can grow up, sob, to be a winner, sob, too.
If actors didn't have Donald Trump and themselves to talk about, awards ceremonies would be over in a blink.
So, will they take Mr Gervais's observations on board? Unlikely any time soon.
But this was a first - and mighty and very welcome - salvo over the bows of all those preachy, self-obsessed stars who don't for one moment imagine how daft and fake they look to the rest of us.
Next year should be interesting. Old Ricky will be a hard act to follow.