IT’S the least-surprising breaking news of the year – Harry and Meghan will not be returning as working members of the Royal Family.
Approaching the 12-month review of Megxit, Buckingham Palace got in slightly early to reveal the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would be officially stepping down from royal duties.
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The Queen is said to be ‘deeply saddened’ that Harry and Meghan have gone for goodCredit: AFP or licensors
What is especially painful for the Queen is that her beloved grandson Harry has turned his back on BritainCredit: AP:Associated Press
“We can all live a life of service. Service is universal,” simpered an anonymous spokesman for the couple, a churlish statement which said nothing.
For when the Queen is reported to be “deeply saddened”, it means Her Majesty is heartbroken. I hope Netflix is worth it, Harry.
And what is especially painful for the Queen is that her beloved grandson and his glam wife have turned their backs on Britain during the hardest of times.
The country is enduring its worst crisis since the Second World War.
And the Queen has just seen her 99-year-old husband admitted to hospital.
HEAL THE WORLD
Prince Harry can fill his boots with the bounty of corporate America. He can kick off his English brogues and waggle his freckled toes in the lush grass of California.
He can heal the world from his sofa. Perhaps he will even be happy.
But — with spectacular selfishness and insensitivity — he has turned his back on his family and his country at the worst possible moment.
There are 120,000 British dead. And Prince Philip is in hospital just months away from his 100th birthday. Immaculate timing, Harry.
What a contrast between the runaway Prince Harry and his paternal grand- father Prince Philip.
The Duke of Sussex is the royal woke bloke. And the Duke of Edinburgh is old school writ large.
Harry and Meghan will not be returning as working members of the Royal FamilyCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Prince Philip is the craggy rock on which the modern Royal Family is builtCredit: Getty – Contributor
No tearful confessions to Oprah. No PC clichés. No banalities about climate change from the back of a private plane.
No virtue signalling, no deals with giant American corporations, no sprawling under “the tree of life” for a Vogue photographer because the wife is expecting.
And no jacking it all in for a life of shallow American celebrity.
And no whining, ever, about a life of unimaginable privilege. Just seven decades of stalwart service.
Prince Harry was, I believe, loved here as much as any member of the Royal Family has ever been loved.
Seared into our collective memory is that small boy walking behind the coffin of his dead mother.
And that national affection was more than sympathy for a child who had lost his mother. Harry was down-to-earth, great with children, ready to muck in with his Army mates.
He was the self-deprecating, humorous good sport that the British will always warm to.
But it is hard to escape the feeling that Harry has changed. He has gained America and all the riches it contains but it feels like he has lost himself.
Is he really going to be happy spouting woke clichés and sipping kale smoothies with Oprah for the next 50 years?
Even now, the country he left behind must wish him well.
But what a contrast between Prince Harry and Prince Philip. What a contrast between the young prince who chucked it all in for American fame and fortune and the old prince who stayed.
NO FUSS, NO DRAMA
Philip is the craggy rock on which the modern Royal Family is built.
When he was admitted to London’s King Edward VII Hospital on doctor’s orders, the Duke walked in unaided. No fuss, no drama, no cheap emotion.
How totally different to Harry. If you have a relative from that generation, you will recognise the way Prince Philip carries himself. The stoicism. The sense of duty. The resilience.
The young exiled royals in La La Land could learn a lot from the Duke. Sadly, it’s probably too late now.
The Queen’s long reign has relied enormously upon this tough, unsentimental, sometimes difficult 99-year-old man.
Her Majesty has been on the throne for an astonishing 69 years. From Churchill to Boris, the Queen has seen 14 Prime Ministers come and go.
And as the decades have sped by, Philip has always been there.
It is unthinkable that the Queen would have reigned so long and so well without Prince Philip’s unwavering, flinty-eyed supportCredit: AFP – Getty
It is unthinkable that Queen Elizabeth II would have reigned so long and so well without Prince Philip’s unwavering, flinty-eyed support.
If Harry and Meghan’s marriage lasts that long, and if they are that happy, then they will be doing well.
We shall see.
But Prince Philip looks like a man who has spent his life exactly where he was meant to be — by his wife’s side, glowering from the shadows, his hands clasped behind his back and another outrageous gaffe on the tip of his tongue.
And Harry already looks lost in the California sun.
How cruel — how thoughtless — to be so disrespectful to the Queen when, without the Royal Family, Meghan and Harry are a minor actress and a major Old Etonian thicko.
We’ll meet again?
DANCING On Ice is off air tonight, pausing to catch its breath after a series of nasty injuries.
Jason Donovan’s bad back, Denise van Outen’s broken shoulder, Hamish Gaman’s torn tendon while putting on his socks, positive coronavirus tests (Vanessa Bauer and partner Joe-Warren Plant) and family bereavement (the death of Billie Faiers’ grandmother).
Vanessa Bauer has been doing yoga moves in bed-rumpled isolationCredit: Instagram/vanessabauer_skates
DOI returns next week with Phil and Holly bringing their skates, and the possibility of show veterans returning.
For now, fans of the contest must content themselves with Vanessa doing yoga moves in bed-rumpled isolation.
They talk about the curse of Strictly just because a few people got off with each other.
But Dancing On Ice is where the true danger lies.
I WAS always a fan of Pele’s erectile dysfunction commercials.
“Talk to a doctor,” the great man advised. “I would.”
A new Netflix documentary reveals Pele has had so many sexual adventures he makes George Best look like a celibate monkCredit: Alamy
So clever – not conceding that there was anything even slightly amiss in those tight Brazilian shorts, yet admitting that there would be no shame whatsoever in seeking medical advice should problems ever come to pass.
Pele made every red-blooded male want a replica Brazil shirt and a packet of Viagra.
Now a new Netflix documentary reveals he has had so many sexual adventures he makes George Best look like a celibate monk.
At 80, everything seems to be working just fine for Pele.
THIS week’s limp Labour relaunch only emphasised that Sir Keir Starmer will never be Prime Minister.
Starmer had passionately backed two historic losers – Remain and Jeremy Corbyn.
Both of those lost causes were espoused by Labour politicians like Keir, who honestly believed Labour no longer needed the working class.
How’s that working out?
WILFRIED ZAHA, of Crystal Palace, is the first Premier League player to say he will not take the knee or wear Black Lives Matter on his shirt.
“I feel like taking the knee is degrading,” Zaha told the Financial Times.
Wilfried Zaha is the first Premier League player to say he will not take the knee or wear Black Lives Matter on his shirtCredit: Getty Images – Getty
“Growing up, my parents just let me know I should be proud to be black, no matter what.
“I just think we should stand tall. I’m not just here to tick boxes.”
Taking the knee has become an empty, virtue-signalling gesture that does nothing to fight racism.
And right now it looks very much as if has become compulsory.
What is the good of that?
Wilfried Zaha is black, brilliant and a man who thinks for himself.
LOVE Island’s Laura Anderson reports she is abused online because she is 31 years old.
“I get called a wrinkly, washed-up has-been,” Laura says. “Or they’ll say, ‘You don’t look a day over 50’, or tell me I’m past it or, ‘Go home, grandma’.”
Laura Anderson reports she is abused online because she is 31 years oldCredit: Instagram
In reality, Laura is more attractive now than when she was in the reality show in her twenties.
She thinks the abuse is because of society’s obsession with age.
But what society is truly obsessed with is what cruel losers are spouting online.
Twenty years ago these idiots would have been writing abusive letters in green ink and nobody would have cared. Now we do.
What comes out of the mouths of morons on social media, that sewer of spite, has to stop mattering quite so much.
Not flying the flag
TIGHT-LIPPED SNP supremo Nicola Sturgeon rules that the Union Flag must only be flown outside government buildings on Remembrance Sunday and for the other 364 days of the year it should be replaced by – wait for it! – the EU flag.
Er, Scotland is part of the UK. And the UK is not part of the EU.
You haven’t won your independence referendum just yet, hen.
AUTHORITARIAN nations are building their empires with vaccine diplomacy.
China is shipping two million of its Sinovac jabs to Chile. Russia has pledged 24million of its Sputnik vacs to Mexico. China is sending jabs to Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Turkey and the Philippines.
Boris Johnson is quite right to say we should share our vaccines to help the needyCredit: PA:Press Association
Russia is sending millions of its jabs to Hungary – part of the European Union!
In the UK, we have 407million doses of seven different vaccines on order for a population of just 66million.
So Boris Johnson is quite right to say we should help the needy.
There is a rich irony in seeing China – said to be the cause of all this misery – present itself as the big-hearted solution.
But however cynical the motives of China and Russia, nobody can deny that they are fulfilling a desperate need.
The world is not safe until everyone is safe.
THEY are the unsung heroes who have kept our country running during the worst health emergency for 100 years.
White van men. Lorry drivers. Hauliers of every description.
The drivers who delivered food to the supermarkets and to our doors.
They never quit and thanks to them, nobody went hungry.
A hike in fuel duty in next month’s Budget would be grotesquely unfair on these kings and queens of the road.
They don’t deserve an extra tax burden.
They deserve our thanks.
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