Anyone who watched all four seasons of the Netflix drama The Crown will have seen a dysfunctional family in full spate. Very few would willingly join such a family, or ‘the firm’ as the Royals call it.
Poor Harry was born into dysfunctionality, but Meghan volunteered for it. Love is blind, they say. Since the Harry + Meghan show relocated to California mutual accusations have criss-crossed the Atlantic – hints of Meghan’s bullying of her staff by the Palace, suggestions by her of racism at the heart of ‘the firm’…this could run and run. The Crown’s scriptwriters are probably rubbing their hands with glee.
Meanwhile, Prince Philip has been hospitalised with heart problems. The Queen is in her 94th year. It’s all starting to feel like another annus horribilis, which is how the Queen described 1992 after that year’s sequence of unpleasant events for ‘the firm’.
Will this internal struggle, playing out on a TV near you, damage the monarchy’s standing? Last December a YouGov poll found that while 67% of Brits (and 84% of over-65s) want to keep the monarchy, just 21% would prefer an elected head of state. But many would like to see Prince William leapfrog Prince Charles and become the next monarch.
Tantrums in a teacup, you say. There are much bigger issues – the return of kids to school this week, and the paradoxical possibility of there being an upsurge in influenza cases (which kills around 11,000 people in England every year) later this year because there have been almost no infections thanks to the Covid-19 lockdowns. Like Meghan, we might be asking ourselves, ‘will we ever be free again?’ Britain has had the tightest lockdown in the developed world in this ‘second wave’; each additional week of lockdown costs taxpayers £6 billion according to the Adam Smith Institute.
That’s almost enough to fund Boris Johnson’s latest wizard scheme, a White House –style ‘situation centre’ in the basement of the Cabinet Office costing £9 billion (minus overrun costs). The ‘SitCen’ is due to open this summer. It will be the government’s ‘command bunker’ for emergencies such as terrorist attacks or pandemics.
It used to be said of Labour governments that they were ‘tax and spend’ machines. It’s starting to look like Conservative governments are no different. As we face a £2 trillion national debt, tax rises are already starting to happen. Inflation is cooked into the cake. The Harry + Meghan episode signals a further erosion of stability – what we have known and lived with for decades past is fast changing.
In this increasingly uncertain world, where both money and monarchy are besieged, gold-as-money, thanks to Glint, may well help you provide a shelter from the storm.
Until next week.