No wonder Meghan and Harry are stepping back – she’s probably running for Labour leader

Mark Steel

What this story needs to make it perfect, is for Meghan Markle to announce she’s standing as candidate to lead the Labour Party, and that she already has the backing of the General Municipal Boilermakers Union.

Because there seems to be such confusion, especially from Buckingham Palace, as to why she and Harry are withdrawing from the royal family. And it is a puzzle, why anyone would want to break their association with an uncle who was best friends with a convicted paedophile, and a father who employs someone to run his bath, and a granddad who probably said to Meghan at Christmas dinner, “I expect your sort aren’t used to turkey as you’d rather boil a missionary.” Why, why, why?

Certain newspapers seem extremely angry about the couple’s decision. Because they’ve spent the last two years publishing huge headlines saying, “Meghan should piss off, just piss right off, go on – PISS OFF”. So it’s understandable their front page now says, “How DARE Meghan piss off, when it’s her royal duty to stay here so we can tell her to piss off?”

The rule appears to be that it’s treason to criticise the royal family, until there’s a member of the royal family the establishment don’t approve of, then it’s treason not to call them vermin.

So on Radio 4, AN Wilson, introduced as an expert on constitutional matters, used his expertise to tell us: “Meghan hasn’t a clue and Harry is as thick as a plank.” Then everyone in the studio laughed and agreed.

Tomorrow there will be a debate on Newsnight between the royal correspondent of The Times, who insists the couple are a “rancid, stinking, steaming pile of fox mess”, and David Starkey, who will retort “No! It is imperative we stick with tradition and call them ‘mouldy piss-stained moth-eaten corgi-droppings who, in the 13th century would have been covered with marmalade and dangled upside-down for a year in a wasps’ nest’, but apparently we can’t do that now because of ghastly political correctness.”

Several commentators agree Meghan has spoiled things, by not understanding “the role and traditions of the royal family”, pointing out the similarities with Wallis Simpson, the American who married Edward VIII, and caused him to abdicate.

And the two cases are uncannily alike, because Edward was a perfectly respectable Nazi sympathiser and friend of Hitler before she turned up and ruined everything.

So it’s quite proper that the Daily Mail dedicated its first 17 pages to the crisis, though they should feel ashamed that page 18 barely mentioned the story at all. By next week every story will have to be about Harry and Meghan, so the foreign news will start: “The crowd of one million that assembled in Tehran for Soleimani’s funeral, chanted ‘I trust the Queen, not these two idiots’.”

One issue the Daily Mail draws attention to is how the couple might retain the cottage they own, which was renovated “with taxpayers’ money”. It’s no wonder people are angry, when it’s revealed these parasites receive public money. The couple should be like the Queen and Philip, who fund Sandringham by renting it out for bed and breakfast. Every morning they’re up at six, shooting in the grounds so the partridge sausages are ready for the guests. You certainly wouldn’t catch them receiving taxpayers’ money.

In any case, Harry should have understood his role, and married according to the demands of the country, like in the 15th century when a royal marriage secured a trading route with Spain. Instead of marrying Meghan, he should have married Jean-Claude Juncker to help ease Brexit, but no, just “me, me, me” with his glamorous American actress, wasn’t it?

He should have known his purpose was to perform duty, not to arse about having emotions. He should have seen his grandmother married to someone she cared so deeply about, she didn’t bother to visit him when he was in hospital at 98, and thought: “That’s the life for me.”

Some commentators insist that despite their treacherous behaviour, Harry and Meghan won’t be missed as he’s only sixth in line to the throne. And monarchy is all about numbers. This is why the monarchists that come unstuck are the ones who complain about certain royals not being as good as other ones, as if their position is due to competence.

But the whole point of a monarchy is you get what you’re given. The numbers aren’t awarded like tennis rankings, no one says: “Princess Carolina of Lowestoft did really well this month opening a new footbridge, so she’s gone up from 85 to 68.” The only way you can go up is when one of those above you carks it.

You can’t pretend it’s down to merit and say: “The marvellous thing about Her Majesty is she started out as a humble princess and worked her way up.”

So Harry stays sixth, even though he’s declared his plans to become “financially independent”.

What they haven’t explained is how they’re going to manage this. Maybe it’s not an accident this has happened in January, during the transfer window. Perhaps they’re having a medical and if all goes well they’ll be transferred to the Moroccan royal family, ready to start by the weekend.

Or they might have to retrain, probably at college, along with people who have been made redundant or come out of prison, and in a few years he’ll be a mechanic at Kwik-Fit, telling customers: “One’s gonna have to have one’s whole engine out I’m afraid guvnor,” while drinking tea from a royal jubilee mug, and occasionally fixing grandpa’s Land Rover for half-price, after he drove it into Poundland at Windsor.

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Harry and Meghan quitting? Can’t say I blame them