I TEND not to read stories about the royals if I can help it. The sight of Kate doing her bit for climate change by wearing a “recycled” dress or Charles grinning inanely under a hair-net as he handles a whipped cream dispenser in a cake factory leaves me cold.

No prizes for guessing my republican leanings. Sadly, serious questions over their continued existence remain muted so long as an uncritical spotlight is shone on the favourite acts in the circus. Celebrity and cute family photos shore up the monarchy like a leaking dam ready to burst.

So it’s left to the sideshows of ugly spats and allegations of sleaze that help to chip away at the crumbling House of Windsor.

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But it was a throwaway comment Prince Harry made last week that caught my attention. Normally, his utterances are meaningless to me. However, his latest advice that people “stuck in jobs that don’t bring them joy” should quit and put their mental health and happiness first was just too preposterous to ignore. I admit, it really annoyed me. In his fairy tale world it sounds easy, but in reality . . . come off it, Harry.

Job guidance from someone who left his royal duties only to land a £112 million Netflix deal and set up home in a £11m mansion in California is just a bit rich. As families struggle with rising costs, job insecurity and mortgages, such idle comments simply infuriate, serving to highlight the yawning gap between the lucky privileged few and the rest of us.

The thing about royalty is that they are unremarkable people thrust into a remarkable situation. They have no real-life experience whatsoever. Harry will never have lived in fear of redundancy or missed out on a promotion, unless you consider his slipping down the ranks of royal lineage a burden to bear. He’s certainly never been exposed to the vagaries of the job market or had to survive on his wits in the workplace.

It’s not personal, I have no beef with them as individuals. They are simply the products of the flawed institution that moulded them. Indeed, I’m no fan, but the former Hollywood actress Meghan is the only one who has actually achieved anything without relying on an unearned birthright or marriage.

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Meanwhile, the prince’s highlighting of mental health issues, although laudable, is blind to the white elephant in the room. The tragic loss of his mother at a young age has clearly had a profound impact on him, and I sympathise. I don’t doubt his good intentions. But the problem is that for many who are battling their inner demons it is often a sense of powerlessness, the lack of a voice or material shortcomings that can instil feelings of low self-esteem.

The glamour and worship of perfection surrounding royalty perpetuates this. It celebrates inherited wealth, while the words of a duke will always matter more than yours or mine ever will.

It may not be on the scale of “let them eat cake”, but Harry’s comment speaks volumes about his underlying assumptions. Monarchy is the enemy of meritocracy, an anachronism that legitimises atises inequality. Bestowing prestige, power and prosperity to a select few by virtue of birth, regardless of their intellect is undemocratic and quite frankly astonishing in the modern age.

So, I’m sorry Harry, you may be a decent bloke and your heart may be in the right place, but I’d rather take work advice from someone who who has had some experience of life outside the rarefied protection of privilege.

PS, bang goes my knighthood.


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