By royal disappointment: Meghan and Harry’s behavior is undermining the monarchy

Recent newspaper headlines and strident television bulletins will have made uncomfortable reading and viewing for the Queen during her annual holiday at Balmoral. Fresh revelations about the Duke of York’s friendship with the late Jeffrey Epstein are causing further embarrassment in a snowballing scandal that threatens to engulf her beleaguered second son. Eco-warriors the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been criticised for taking four private jet flights in 11 days, two of them paid for by Elton John. Yet they see no hypocrisy in their elitist, planet-destroying travel plans…

Inside Balmoral Castle, in the canyons of my mind, a 93-year-old woman switches on both bars of the electric fire in her sitting room and shivers as she buttons up the cardigan of her twinset. For HM the Queen is feeling a distinct chill in the air that has nothing to do with the weather; a change in the climate that has little to do with greenhouse gases. As several of her children and grandchildren continue to disport themselves like the entitled spawn of a dodgy Eurotrash autocrat, perhaps she must be asking herself: is any of this my fault?

Taken individually, these inglorious instances on the York-Sussex-Tindall axis would be bad enough. Together they form a storm front of folly and greed; a mutual lack of judgment that adds up to a bad business for the Queen to unpack at a time in her life when she should be putting her feet up and reflecting upon a blameless life of unstinting duty.

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