“Poor William and Kate,” says Clare Foges in The Times. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are clearly decent people, but on their Caribbean tour they “looked like relics”. The almost universally negative coverage of the trip will be “gratifying” for those who have long wanted to abolish the monarchy. But for ardent royalists like me, it’s a worry. Support for the royal family has fallen since Prince Andrew’s “car-crash interview” on Newsnight and Prince Harry’s with Oprah; a clear majority of 18-to-24-year-olds now favour an elected head of state. With the Queen, alas, showing signs of mortality, “republicans are sharpening their guillotines”.
Prince Charles is no fool: he wants a “slimmed-down monarchy”, and there is even talk of him living in a “flat above the shop” rather than a whole chunk of Buckingham Palace. But I think he needs to go much further. He should “hand in his P45” as head of state to all those far-flung territories where support for the royal family is dwindling. He should return some of the “spoils that have wound up in the royal collections”, relinquish his unnecessary titles (“Lord of the Isles”, anyone?) and cut off minor royals. And that’s just the low-hanging fruit. Why not do away with the curtsey? And indeed the weekly audience with the PM, to pre-emptively head off accusations of meddling? “Tinkering with the status quo” won’t be enough to save the royals. To survive, they must be truly bold.