JAN MOIR: How ‘private’ pair Harry and Meghan still make public so much pain is a mystery. But God help the Queen

Sequestered in tweeds at Balmoral, the mist rolling in from the moors, the Queen settles into her annual holiday in her favourite castle.

I like to imagine her in a cosy sitting room, tiny feet in tartan slippers raised towards the two-bar electric fire, cup of tea at her elbow, cardigan on and the cares of office cast aside.

At the age of 95, who would deny her the space, the pause, the time for a restorative moment of quiet reflection?

For even HM needs some me time. A little bit of self-care, as the Sussexes might say. Or maybe not.

According to their unofficial spokesperson Omid Scobie, Harry and Meghan are ‘disappointed’ in the Queen. Hark at the impudence! 

The couple are apparently upset because they believe the Queen did not take ‘full ownership’ of the allegations they made during their bombshell Oprah interview back in March.

Perhaps H&M wanted HM to order heads to roll, planks to be walked, reputations and careers shredded? Somebody sent to the Tower at the very least.

Instead, what they got was the elegant shrug of ‘recollections may vary…’

Then the Queen and the Royal Household got on with more important matters and left the Sussexes to stew.

According to their unofficial spokesperson Omid Scobie, Harry and Meghan are ‘disappointed’ in the Queen. Hark at the impudence!

For even HM needs some me time. A little bit of self-care, as the Sussexes might say. Or maybe not

Let’s just spool back for a moment. Allegations? The use of the word is risible — an attempt to give a respectable sheen to what was little more than a stream of petulance flowing into a river of whinge emptying into the Harry and Meghan Lake Of Ache.

Safe behind the battlements of the SS Oprah, they fired their peeve-propelled ego torpedoes towards the House of Windsor, each one untroubled by evidence or detail, all calculated to inflict maximum damage with minimum accountability.

If anyone needs to own anything, might I suggest that it is the Sussexes, whose vague smears of racism and more have damned an entire family and tarnished their loyal staff to boot? If the Sussexes are so convinced that they have been wronged, they could at least have the courage of their beliefs.

Lily is so silly in her blue burqa 

Pictured: Lily Cole

When it comes to Afghanistan, even Harry and Meghan, those ambassadors of do-good, are ‘speechless’.

Much of Hollywood has been silent, too. Perhaps they have used up all their charitable energy on fashionable hashtag causes such as #MeToo, #BlackLives Matter or #FreePalestine.

Back home, it was left to supermodel Lily Cole to encapsulate much of the fatuity of celebrity activism.

In an effluence of public deeds, she declared herself ‘queer’ and, while promoting her new book Who Cares Wins, posted a photo in which she posed in a blue burqa, complete with matching nail polish. Very fetching.

As women in Kabul and elsewhere feared for their lives, silly Lily was smirking in her borrowed burqa, a move which she claimed celebrated ‘diversity’. There is nothing diverse about being forced to wear a symbol of female oppression.

In her defence, Lily said she hadn’t seen the news and, anyway, a friend gave her the burqa, so there.

‘Sometimes it feels like you can’t even breathe without stealing oxygen,’ she writes in her book.

Quite. And sometimes it takes the gravest of international situations to show up some of those hand-wringing celebrities for who and what they really are — ineffectual airbags on the post-crash limousine of self-glorification. She’ll be writing messages on bananas next.

Name and shame, please. Or put up and shut up and preferably the latter. Really, this unedifying tit for tat is the last thing the Queen needs.

Harry and Meghan seem to be playing a trans-Atlantic game of Ding Dong Ditch, the childhood prank of ringing a doorbell and running away. A game, incidentally, also known as Knock Down Ginger. But I am not going to mention that, in case the touchy couple accuse me of unconscious gingerism.

Anyway, poor old Queen! She certainly has not had her troubles to seek. Earlier this year, lest we forget, she buried her husband.

Last week, the Duke and Duchess of York came to visit her at Balmoral, neatly dovetailing with Jeffrey Epstein-accuser Virginia Giuffre launching a legal action against the prince for allegedly sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager.

That must have led to some nice and relaxing fireside chats. Now HM must prepare herself for next year’s Platinum Jubilee, celebrating her 70 years on the throne. Seventy years!

For a great many of us, the Queen has been a solid and comforting presence throughout our lives; her face on our stamps and coins, her steadfast attendance at matters of national importance, both tragic and triumphant.

Whatever you might think of her motley family, surely she deserves better than this — the freighted weight of the Sussexes’ ‘disappointment.’

Mr Scobie has let all this be known, via an updated version of his glutinous biography Finding Freedom. He writes that the Queen’s ‘recollections’ comment ‘did not go unnoticed’ by the Sussexes.

A ‘close source’ said they were ‘not surprised’ that ‘full ownership’ was not taken. A friend of Meghan reportedly added: ‘How can you move forward with that?’

Quite a blizzard of quote marks, don’t you think? Never in the field of human grammar has so much mollifying pressure been placed on the humble apostrophe to distance who really said what and why.

Lawyers for the Duke and Duchess have been quick to distance the couple from Scobie’s ‘unnamed sources’ contributing to an ‘unauthorised biography’.

But surely if he did not accurately reflect the views the Sussexes want to be made public, they would be repeatedly suing him for gross breach of privacy?

Despite her age, I imagine that the Queen is conversant with most modern methods of communication. But even she must be puzzled as to how Omid Scobie can speak for the Sussexes without apparently ever speaking to them, to report on their innermost feelings via a network of ‘friends’.

Or perhaps he absorbs their hurt by osmosis, like human blotting paper. Or maybe he is a shape-shifting sponge feeding on their moral coral, silently absorbing the nutrients of their pain.

And he then broadcasts it all in such a way that evades censure from this most private ofcouples. It is one of the miracles of the age.

Many of us will be convinced that even the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would never stoop so low as to try to bully the Queen, but from some regrettable angles, that is indeed what these Scobie-fuelled developments look like.

Even now the Sussexes, determined to matter more than they do, have not grasped the steel and resolve of the Queen, the institution she leads and the country she represents. And things are going to get worse, not better.

Apparently, the couple are now entering a new ‘era of visibility’. If the recent blizzard of television interviews, documentaries, podcasts, books and surprise appearances was their attempt at obscurity, then God help us all.

And God save the Queen.

Is Matt Hancock unravelling before our eyes? Or just making the most of summer in which he has suddenly found himself footloose and fancy-free from many of the cares of family life?

The former Health Minister was spotted boogie boarding in Cornwall (with his sons) then attending an opera night at the Proms where he enjoyed himself knocking back vodka shots at a reception afterwards. Then there was the curious incident of the train in the night, when a group of women surrounded him and stole his baseball cap on a London Underground tube. Matt seems determined to recapture his lost youth in any way possible, edifying or otherwise.

But shouldn’t he be a little more discreet?

Darling Dom’s too cute to play Prince Charles

Dominic West is to star as Prince Charles in season five of The Crown (Netflix).

What? Surely this is the most unlikely bit of casting since Daniel Day-Lewis climbed into his moccasins to play Hawkeye in The Last Of The Mohicans? Beating even Colin Farrell wearing a skirt to play Alexander the Great?

Certainly, the news has completely blown the minds of all those ridiculous middle-aged women (me and my friends) who nurture a tendresse for darling Dom and still regard him as quite the most handsome man on the planet, despite everything.

Dominic West is to star as Prince Charles in season five of The Crown (Netflix)

And Prince Charles as um, not quite in the same league — but a dear old thing nonetheless. New photographs of West in character show him in a double-breasted suit complete with billowing pocket handkerchief and sporting the prince’s trademark hair parting, cleaving across his scalp like a furrow in a turnip field.

But even this passion-killing kit cannot quite quench the cute.

The new series will see the Queen negotiate 1992, the year in which three of her four children separated from their partners, Charles and Camilla’s affair became public and a fire tore through Windsor Castle.

But, by God, if any man can brighten up a woman’s annus horribilis, then that man is Dominic West, hankie aloft or otherwise.

Why do the young need a jab-seekers allowance?

Not all young people are annoying and selfish but, sometimes, it feels that way.

Why else would the Government have to offer them incentives to boost vaccine uptake? It could save their lives, for heaven’s sake, but no. Like recalcitrant puppies, they need a treat before they’ll even consider a jab.

To this end, food delivery and ride-hailing firms such as Uber, Bolt and Deliveroo will offer discounts for the young, free and vaccinated.

Discounts! Incentives! But will any of this work?

Campers at the recent Boardmasters festival in Cornwall were charged an additional £10 as a refundable litter bond, to be recouped when they collected one full bag of recyclable waste upon departure.

It could save their lives, for heaven’s sake, but no. Like recalcitrant puppies, they need a treat before they’ll even consider a jab

You might imagine that these Gen Z climate change warriors wouldn’t need any incentives or jolly wheezes to be encouraged to clean up after themselves. However, the beaches and fields around Newquay were left looking like a giant rubbish tip. Tents, chairs, sleeping bags were all left behind, amid a mountain of plastic, glass, cardboard, food remains and worse.

One local policeman took to Twitter to register his outrage. ‘The generation that lectures the world about waste and climate change had a great time! But left this mess, the sheer hypocrisy!’

He’s right. They want to save the planet, but not if it involves any personal effort.

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