Where Harry and Meghan lead, rest of Royal Family should follow – Vladimir McTavish

Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, should be applauded if they help put sycophantic ‘royal experts’ out of a job, writes Vladimir McTavish.

Monday, 13th January 2020, 6:00 am
What 30-something bloke asks his granny if he can take a new job and move abroad with his wife? Picture: PA

I am sure I am not alone in my reaction to the news that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are intending to step back from front-line royal duties and spend six months of the year in America. When I heard this tabloid-busting headline, my first thoughts were: “Who gives a monkey’s?”

After all, there is some pretty big stuff going on globally right now.
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More than 60 Canadians, and three UK citizens are amongst the 170 or so fatalities as a Ukrainian plane falls out of the sky, “probably” shot down by an Iranian missile.

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's statement in full – and how the palace responde...

Yet the red-tops are obsessed by a 30-something bloke and his wife and young child wanting to take a career path that moves them away from the prying eyes of, you guessed it, the red-tops.

“It’s outrageous!” screams one headline: “The Queen did not know.” Get real, how many other married men in their thirties need their granny’s permission before they take on a new job? This is not a story.

Harry and Meghan have said they want to become financially independent. I think that is an admirable aim, but easily achievable given that they are both multi-millionaires with a seriously impressive real estate portfolio. However, I did a search on AirBnB for properties in Windsor, and Frogmore House is not for rent at the moment.

It does seem ridiculous, however, that the guy is being hung out to dry for saving taxpayers’ money. I’ll say it again, this is not a story.

The press’s time would be much better spent digging further into the dirty dealings between Prince Andrew and convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein. That is a story. Incidentally, why has Epstein’s other mate Harvey Weinstein been walking in to court with the aid of a Zimmer frame? Answers on a postcard, please.

I am no fan of the royal family but I have nothing but contempt for so-called “Royal watchers”, “Royal correspondents”, “Royal experts”, etc. There are as many “experts” writing for OK magazine.

Every time I hear the toadying sycophantic tones of Nicholas Witchell on the BBC, I am tempted to throw the largest, heaviest object I can find at my telly.

I was musing that there must be a botanical term for a parasite that lives off another parasite. The term is “hyperparasite” (Thanks you, Google!). The human equivalents are royal correspondents.

So I’m now coming around to thinking this may be a story after all if Harry is depriving these so-called “experts” of their lifeblood. Well done, Prince Harry for sticking two fingers up at these odious no-marks posing as journalists, and pretending they are experts on royals. Well done for protecting your wife from the ugly racist slurs she has had to endure from the gutter press. You’ll be better off in America. Well done for saying you want to be financially independent.

If only the rest of the royal family were to follow suit. Now that really would be a story.

Here’s how to stay off the booze in January

I have been off the drink for a week now, and I am feeling much the better for it. In fact, yesterday was my birthday, and not a drop passed my lips. Right now, nothing appeals to me less than a pint of beer, a glass of wine or a dram of whisky.

Last January, it was a totally different story. By the 13th, I was gagging for a drink. What’s the difference? Quite simply, last year I did Dry January. This year, I have made no such pledge.

Abstinence is much easier when you don’t set a time limit to it. Particularly one as stupid as the entire 31 days of January. Of all the months of the year to go without a bevvy in Scotland, it is far and away the worst. It’s bleak, it’s dark and it’s cold.

Even February makes more sense for a month on the wagon. It’s still bleak, dark and cold but there are three fewer days of the living hell of being self-confessed booze-free.

I was talked into doing Dry January last year by a friend. I agreed because I was drunk at the time. If I’d been sober, I would never have signed up for such an act of folly.

My friend who got me to sign up had done it the previous year, and kept going on about how clearly he was thinking after a long stretch off the sauce.

And I must admit, he was not wrong. After ten days, I was thinking very clearly indeed. I was thinking: “Hell’s teeth, it must be February by now, surely?”