Yes, my friends. We are in the middle of something unknown, something that will change lives and history forever. Where will it all end?
No one knows, but times of great stress always bring out the very best and worst in people.
And the Royal Family is no exception. Some of them have risen to the challenge with dependable magnificence, while others are Prince Andrew. Some have taken the opportunity to do good works and promote good causes, while others have just taken the opportunity to promote themselves.
Yet here is a golden chance for the monarchy to really prove their worth. To justify themselves and their hereditary privileges while quenching republican mutterings over the difficulties and embarrassments of last year.
Indeed, what are they for, if not to lead and soothe the country at a time of crisis and provide a bulwark against the seethe of politics? If the throne cannot calm the throng at a time of national distress, then what is the point of it?
But who shines brightest in adversity, and who is struggling to remain relevant?
Where to begin? There is no disaster so disastrous, no calamity so calamitous that the Yorks cannot somehow make worse by inserting themselves into the narrative.
The Duke of York has been lurking in his cave of shame since defending his links to sex offender and possible sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein last year.
He finally broke cover on April 10 to allow himself to be photographed packing treats into bags for local hospice workers — alongside Sarah, Duchess of York.
Prince Andrew finally broke cover on April 10 to allow himself to be photographed packing treats into bags for local hospice workers — alongside Sarah, Duchess of York
With the lush sprawl of the Windsor parklands unfolding behind them, Andrew boxed iced cupcakes and scented toiletries while looking suitably pious. It takes a special kind of man to sneak under the petticoats of a pandemic and use the horror of coronavirus as an image-boosting exercise, but what has he got left to lose? Andrew doesn’t sweat the small stuff.
Meanwhile, Sarah has taken to posting important thoughts on her social media accounts. ‘Mother Nature has sent us to our rooms, like the spoilt children we are,’ began one epic drone. Speak for yourself, missus.
These message streams are a queasy mulch of promotion for her books, praise for her children (Princess Eugenie is her ‘magic dust’) and photographs of grateful care workers clutching their free bottles of Fergie-gifted hand lotion and lunch pouches.
An assistant has even uploaded pictures of the duchess mopping the kitchen floor, which I presume is meant to illustrate just how harrowing life has become at Royal Lodge. Could this lot be any more patronising?
Sarah clearly sees herself as an inspirational figure — I know! — and to this end has launched a YouTube channel to ‘lift spirits’ during the lockdown.
That news will indeed encourage many of us to lift spirits — a large gin to wash away the pain of this ongoing delusion. On Storytime With Fergie And Friends she reads a story for the kiddies every day.
First off was her own work, the classic Budgie Goes To Sea.
‘Look he’s got a fish in his lifejacket,’ she booms, pointing to something on the page we cannot see. I could barely follow the plot (Budgie goes to sea and — spoiler — comes back again) for wondering why Fergie was sitting in the shadows of a chintzy parlour, radiating all the conviviality of Mrs Bates in the film Pyscho. Mummy! Make that scary lady stop.
There is a moment of excitement when she beckons to someone off camera.
‘Ginger, come and say hello. Lots of boys and girls would love to see you,’ she says. Tragically it turns out to be her little dog, not Prince Harry.
What is happening with the girls, I hear you cry. Recently Princess Beatrice planned to expand her May wedding into a much bigger event to cheer up the nation — emotional largesse clearly runs in the family — but now she has cancelled the whole thing.
On Easter Monday Princess Eugenie released a snap of herself WFH (working from home) which is incredible, considering she doesn’t seem to have what any of us would term a ‘job’.
She was doing something for the Anti- Slavery Collective — a cause dear to her heart — which spotlights slavery and sex trafficking across the globe. Which I think is where we came in.
None of the family see irony in any of this, which is the utter essence of being a total York.
What would we do without her? The Queen’s coronavirus broadcast was only her fourth special address to the nation in her 68 years on the throne — and it will probably go down in history as her best.
‘Today, once again,’ she said, ‘many will feel a painful sense of separation from their loved ones. But now, as then, we know, deep down, that it is the right thing to do.’
She added: ‘We should take comfort that, while we may have more still to endure, better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.’
Over recent weeks, the Queen has managed to strengthen the bond with her people
The words were moving and uplifting. Many people — myself included — didn’t know they needed to hear the Queen say them until she actually said them. On her 94th birthday she cancelled the gun salute and any attendant pomp, while the Palace released images of her early years from the family film archive.
All of which suggest that, over recent weeks, the Queen has managed to strengthen the bond with her people.
The speech was recorded in the White Drawing Room at Windsor, with a rotary phone at her side that caught the imagination, too. Vintage, with a lovely tone, just like her. When Boris Johnson was seriously ill in hospital, HM also took the time to send a thoughtful message to Carrie Symonds. So this crisis has found her not putting a neatly buckled foot wrong.
She remains regina in excelsis, steering her own course through these difficult times, but always sailing onwards towards the greater national good. Even the Duchess of York was affected. ‘Her Majesty’s words touched my core,’ she said, for once not giving everyone the pip.
DUKE AND DUCHESS OF CORNWALL
At least Prince Charles had the decency to catch the blasted thing. On March 26 it was confirmed that the 71-year-old heir to the throne had tested positive for coronavirus — although Camilla tested negative.
His mild symptoms meant that the prince recovered after seven days of self-isolation at Birkhall, his Scottish home.
The Cornwalls celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary in lockdown and Charles opened the temporary NHS Nightingale Hospital in London
After this he must have felt like the Queen Mother — who famously said that she at last felt able to ‘look the East End in the eye’ after Buckingham Palace was also bombed during the war. The Cornwalls celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary in lockdown and Charles opened the temporary NHS Nightingale Hospital in London via video.
As the patron of Age UK, he also gave a supportive message ‘to all those older people who are now experiencing great difficulty’. He told them to ‘live with hope, with faith in ourselves and each other, and look forward to better times to come’.
Please don’t think the Cornwalls are not suffering! Charles is having to cope without his valet — although Camilla’s hair is still suspiciously blonde. A charming photograph with Charles cuddling Prince Louis gets extra granddaddy points.
DUKE AND DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE
Ever visible, ever cheerful, always on it. Kate and William have been working hard.
They have narrated a film on lockdown mental health, saying that it is normal to ‘feel frustrated, miss loved ones and get anxious’.
They have Zoomed with schoolchildren, they have Skyped with charity workers, they have been highly prominent in all permitted ways
They have Zoomed with schoolchildren, they have Skyped with charity workers, they have been highly prominent in all permitted ways. They have also announced that money from the Royal Foundation will now be directed towards Covid-19 related problems. They put their children into sweet little jumpers to clap for the NHS and our carers, a cheering sight.
Birthday photographs of future heartbreaker Prince Louis — taken by his mother — showed a happy, lovely little boy with rainbow-painted hands. The Cambridges just get on with it all without complaint, in their practical and capable way.
Birthday photographs of future heartbreaker Prince Louis — taken by his mother — showed a happy, lovely little boy with rainbow-painted hands
DUKE AND DUCHESS OF SUSSEX
In the middle of the pandemic Harry and Meghan announced they would no longer deal with media outlets in the UK who displeased them. They donned face masks and rubber gloves to illustrate their distaste — and also to deliver 20 meals to Los Angeles residents in need during Covid-19.
The couple volunteered through Project Angel Food, an organisation which prepares and delivers medically-tailored dishes to chronically ill people. With their identities hidden behind the masks, no one recognised their famous Sussex delivery drivers although news of their mercy mission soon reached the CNN news desk.
Meanwhile, celebrity friends of the couple have been making donations towards corona relief. George and Amal Clooney have donated over $1 million, while Oprah Winfrey has chipped in with $10 million.
In the middle of the pandemic Harry and Meghan announced they would no longer deal with media outlets in the UK who displeased them
Harry and Meghan are still ‘working to become financially independent’ plus they need to buy a new house with pool — but every little bowl of rice and veggies helps, right?
Plans for their SussexRoyal website to become a global touchstone for Covid-19 information and truth came to nothing when they had to close it down.
In the meantime, Prince Harry caused outrage this week by suggesting that the corona situation in the UK was ‘better than we are led to believe through certain corners of the media’.
He’s unqualified, unthinking and unleashed. In a Zoom meeting with British parents caring for sick children the Prince said he had ‘heard from friends’ and ‘seen things online’ about PPE shortages.
In a worrying glimpse of the future and his misunderstanding of his own importance, he hoped the government ‘sit up and take notice’ of his words. On a brighter note, Harry, Meghan and Archie all Zoomed the Queen to wish her a happy birthday.