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Royal family

Sorry, Harry, I’m still a monarchist

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“A grenade! A bombshell! An earthquake! A constitutional crisis!” For Britain’s “ever-excitable” royal correspondents, says Libby Purves in The Times, Harry’s memoir is nothing short of a “landmine under Buckingham Palace”, and quite possibly proof that the monarchy is “unfit for the modern world”. Come off it. We’ve seen the book now, and the most explosive revelations are what exactly? “A shove in a kitchen followed by an apology? A tiff over bridesmaids’ tights?” It’s not like constitutional monarchy depends on “impeccable personal relationships”, and if there’s any family that’s immune from the “occasional hissy fit”, I certainly haven’t met it.

The over-reaction to all this is likely a spillover from the Queen’s death: “a national wobble was predictable after 70 reassuring years”. But the uproar will abate, and the “mild, sad, silent Palace” is wise not to feed it. For all the fuss, I remain a moderate, optimistic monarchist. In my experience, the royal family’s core players and their aides are generally “decent people who willingly do a curious but useful job which enriches national life”. More than anything, they are “interested visible patrons of all that is constructive and kind”. Think of the Queen asking a young bomb victim about Ariana Grande (“She’s very good, isn’t she?”), or Kate romping around a nursery, or even Meghan meeting Grenfell survivors during that “brief, glorious honeymoon period”. Such moments “raise both morale and the visibility of need”. That’s why we need monarchy. “Because it is powerless, apolitical and yet represents the nation.”