For why would Harry — who has shown no obvious regard for his grandmother’s feelings of late, and didn’t even show up for his grandfather’s memorial — choose this moment to take time out from his busy Netflix schedule?
Yes, the Queen has mobility problems but is otherwise in good health. So it’s not as if this was a last-chance-to-see-her visit.
I bet I’m not the only one who saw the unscheduled arrival of this terrible twosome as a harbinger of doom.
Wherever they appear, trouble is never very far behind for the Royal Family.
It’s unlikely – though not impossible – that the Sussexes will appear on the Palace balcony at the occasion of Her Majesty’s platinum jubilee. Some will be relieved if they don’t. Photo from 2018
The truth is, I don’t know what to believe any more when it comes to the Sussexes. I don’t think anyone does.
The web of spin around them is so complex, their determination to bend the narrative to their advantage so intense, it’s hard to tell fact from fiction.
This week, for example, it was suggested they might even appear on the balcony at Buckingham Palace with the rest of the Royal Family during the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June.
That seems unlikely, however, which I imagine must have come as quite a relief in some quarters.
The drama of such a moment would have delighted Harry and Meghan’s paymasters at Netflix, though.
Harry and Meghan – pictured at the Invictus Games on Sunday – are only thinking about Netflix
What could be better for business than the pair of them up there, grinning and waving next to the Queen?
Who knows, perhaps that is even where the rumour originated in the first place.
But it would have been a tough one for other royals to swallow. Having to share a stage with two people who have dumped a huge bucket of steaming vitriol over their heads would have meant concreting those stiff upper lips.
It would be particularly hard, I think, for the Duchess of Cambridge. No one has worked harder to take up the slack following the Sussexes’ departure, or to broker peace between Harry and William.
But even someone as stoic as her might find it hard to be reunited for the first time in public — in full view of the world’s cameras — with the simpering sister-in-law who accused her of making her cry, and repeated the claim in that Oprah interview.
That said, I am sure Kate would stomach it because, unlike Meghan, she understands that the role of royal consort is not all adoring crowds and tiaras — a trait she shared with the late Duke of Edinburgh. If the Queen deems it appropriate, then Kate can be relied upon to step up.
One thing is clear: despite everything, the Queen remains remarkably well-disposed towards her grandson and his wife.
Given the level of provocation over the past two years, not to mention Harry’s intention to publish a ‘tell-all’ memoir in the autumn, she would be forgiven for revoking his passport and banning them from ever darkening her door again.
Given the level of their provocation, the Queen would be within rights to revoke Harry’s passport (Harry and Meghan pictured with baby Lillibet in March 2021)
But the Queen always tries to bring everyone together, even at a cost to her own reputation.
Her decision to allow Prince Andrew to accompany her down the aisle at her husband’s memorial was not universally well received.
Yet it sent a strong signal about how much she still loves her son despite his troubles, and how little she cares for public opinion in regard to the things that really matter to her — such as family.
Wherever Harry (right) and Meghan (left) appear, trouble for the Royal Family is not far behind. The couple are pictured with Invictus Games athletes in an Instagram post shared on Sunday
Such generosity of spirit can be mistaken for weakness or naivety. It is not. On the contrary, it takes strength and wisdom to see the bigger picture and behave magnanimously.
The olive branch has been extended; it would be nice if, for once, Harry and Meghan did not throw it back in her face.
Nice to know that while most of us wrestle with how to pay our gas bills, the Duchess of Sussex can afford £38,000 of new clothes, plus a lovely new £12,500 Cartier necklace, for her trip to The Hague. An inspiration to us all, don’t you agree?
My take on Thandiwe
The actress Thandiwe Newton (she recently adopted the African spelling of her name) has been urged to seek help after she had a blazing row with her co-star Channing Tatum, walked off set and fired her UK agent of 30 years.
I’d say that, at 49, she’s just menopausal
It has also been reported that her marriage has ended.
It is of course possible that she is experiencing some sort of breakdown; but judging by the description of her as ‘very highly strung’, I’d say that, at 49, she is possibly just menopausal.
If so, it comes to us all, Thandiwe.
Nothing that a bit of HRT and a lie down won’t solve.
I’m Generation Johnny
I must confess I have become slightly obsessed by the seemingly never-ending battle between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, who are suing each other for tens of millions in the fallout from their brief but toxic marriage. My daughter and her friends are on Team Amber; I’m more Team Johnny. I think this has a lot to do with age.
Heard is 35, a classic millennial; Depp is 58, very early Gen X. Essentially, two different species, hence him complaining about her spouting the kind of ‘hippy s**t’ so familiar to her contemporaries.
We Gen X-ers are the sort of people who treat a severed finger (like Depp’s) as no more than a broken nail; millennials are rather more highly strung.
Although neither, of course, are a match for the Baby Boomers, who think we are all just as hopeless as each other.
What do Heidi Klum, Katy Perry and Amanda Holden have in common? They all seem inexplicably fond of this hideous yellow dress style. Why, when you have their bodies and connections, would you insist on wearing something that makes you look like what you’d find in a cheap Kinder Surprise egg?
And the award for Snowflake of the Century goes to the man handed almost £345,000 in compensation after his company threw him a birthday party which resulted in him having a panic attack. Sorry, but what an utter wet lettuce.
Who says the culture wars have killed off comedy? A pair of busybody diversity campaigners in Phoenix, Arizona, denounced a school for hiring a white DJ who wore blackface — only to discover that said DJ was, in fact, black.
The gentleman in question, one Kim Koko Hunter, was understandably rather put out. ‘Was I not black enough?’ he wondered.
‘How black do I got to be for people to know that I’m an actual black person?’
An increasing number of young women are opting for double-barrelled surnames when they get married, in a bid to maintain their independence. Funny, isn’t it? In my day, feminists just hung onto their own names. There’s progress for you.
The real problem with Partygate is not that minor infractions were committed, although that was irresponsible and beyond stupid.
Keir’s mistake was fixating on a £50 fine in the middle of a war… (File image)
The problem was that the rules themselves were cruel, absurd, impractical and a fundamental affront to humanity.
So when Keir Starmer delivers his sanctimonious moral lectures at the despatch box, calling for the PM to resign over a £50 fine in the middle of a war, someone should remind him that his party was complicit in taking away the public’s liberties during Covid.
Like granny, like daughter
Lady Margarita Armstrong-Jones, daughter of the Earl and Countess of Snowdon, looked ravishing at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, on Easter Sunday in her mother Serena’s paisley frock.
I always wished I could wear my mother’s fabulous Italian wardrobe — but sadly I failed to inherit her willowy frame. Luckily, though, it has skipped a generation: when she came to visit this Easter, she brought with her a haul of vintage gems.
Now I just sit there like piggy in the middle while she and my daughter put on a fashion show.
Driving around South-West England over Easter, I noted two things dominating the views: rows and rows of giant windmills, and fields and fields of solar panels. What price saving Mother Nature if there’s nothing left of her to enjoy?
President Macron’s ratings have soared since he was pictured lounging open-shirted on a sofa, his luxuriant man-rug on display for all to see. Just goes to show, does it not, that in a world supposedly obsessed with non-binary gender fluidity, there are some aspects of biology that just can’t be denied.