I FIND the royal family monumentally boring. I don’t watch The Crown. I haven’t the least interest in the Cambridges or the Sussexes, what they wore, what they said, whether or not they are ill, or squabbling amongst themselves.

Even though I come from a staunchly republican family, I can’t work up the energy to disapprove of them. They are just too dull for that. I resent it when they make it onto the page or screen. I don’t want these people in my sphere of consciousness.

When Philip died, I spent four days studiously avoiding the outpourings of maudlin sentiment that ensued. When the Queen passes, I’m going to surround myself with family and friends who feel the same way and hit the quit button.

We will absent ourselves from all those trembling lips “as the nation mourns”, and each and every forelock-tugging commentator wheeled out to hold our hands as we grieve for the House of Windsor.

But Diana? Now she was different.

This Spencer waif cut through my royal avoidance policy, albeit by chance.

I had run out of reading material on holiday, so headed to the hotel’s dusty stnore of abandoned books. Footballers' biographies. Barbara Cartland. Every discarded How to Become an Entrepreneur book that airport shops ever sold.

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Trust me, Diana: Her True Story, by Andrew Morton, was the best of a bad job. I would never have read it otherwise.

As you do on holiday, I zipped through this volume, totally riveted. This 1992 book changed the way the public viewed the British monarchy.

Never before had a senior royal spoken in such an honest, unfiltered way, spilling the beans on her unhappy marriage, Charles’s affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles, her unsympathetic treatment by the extended royal clan, her own self-harm and eating disorder.

No need to pick a side. I could only admire her courage.

After seeing the new film Spencer, by Chilean director Pablo Larrain, starring Kristen Stewart as Diana, my indifference to the royals has hardened into a sense that they represent a ridiculous, unreformed institution that has no place in a modern society.

The movie is set over three days at Sandringham in 1991 where the royal family have gathered for Christmas. Diana’s marriage to Charles is beyond repair, yet there is still the expectation that she will play her dutiful role in the annual festive pantomime.

Of course, Larrain’s film is fiction based on inference, billed as ‘a fable from a true tragedy’. But his depiction is all too credible, given how the royals conduct themselves in public.

Diana’s reception at Sandringham, where she dares to arrive late, in her sports car, and not – tut, tut! – in pre-approved royal transport, is frigid. The palace is freezing. Even William and Harry shiver in their beds.

All guests are weighed on arrival and departure. This is some archaic tradition designed to ensure that guests had eaten well and plumped up nicely on the seasonal royal diet.

The extended royal family, apart from Diana, are portrayed as stony-faced, straight-backed stuffed shirts, taking part woodenly in the regal rituals, like jumping to their feet whenever the Queen stands up.

This ridiculous traditional etiquette is policed by the Queen Mother’s equerry, Major Gregory, played by Timothy Spall, who monitors Diana’s every move through his network of spies: frumpy servants with downcast eyes who know their humble place in the rigid palace hierarchy. Gregory is portrayed as a sinister character, a royal stalker, a male to rival Mrs Danvers in Rebecca.

The only un-stultified life in this emotionally and physically freezing palace amongst these tradition – and procedure-obsessed people – comes from the corgis. As Diana explains to her sons: “Here there is only one tense – there is no future, the past and the present are the same thing.”

Jack Farthing – George Warleggan in Poldark – plays Charles as a man whose need for love and warmth was crushed at an early age as he was conditioned in the Windsor way. His wayward wife is an embarrassment to him.

Why won’t she toe the line, even for a few days?

Kitchen staff scuttle about, indulging his insistence on organic food. Charles lectures Diana over another frosty breakfast about the work bees put into making honey, telling her that she ought to ‘do them the courtesy of not regurgitating it’.

He has no sympathy for her, nor feels any need to examine his contribution to her misery. He is merely deeply frustrated with her because she puts her own entirely normal human desire to be loved and respected before duty to queen and country.

Fact or fiction? I’d say this film sits more neatly in the former category, but how can we know?

My one chance to get personal insight into the Windsors was when, believe it or not, I was invited to a garden party at one of HRH Prince Charles’s homes, Highgrove House in Gloucestershire.

Even then, although I share his belief in organic farming, I wasn’t interested enough to alter my family holiday dates to attend it.

And anyway, I wasn’t prepared to curtsey, as is expected of guests, any more than I’d stand for the national anthem. Acts of deference to a fossilised institution embedded in class-ism? Count me out. Passive tolerance of the royals is the best I can muster. Obsequiousness is a bridge too far.

I have never been able to understand the SNP policy of keeping the monarchy in an independent Scotland, or the way that Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon toady in with the royals at any opportunity. Increasingly, it strikes me as evidence of just how conservative and establishment-minded the SNP actually is.

It’s weird, isn’t it, that a Chilean director can expose the absurdity of our ongoing royal roadshow better than any native?

It’s as if we in these isles are so cowed by the royal family, so indoctrinated into believing that this institution has ongoing value, that we can’t even challenge it.

Our columns are a platform for writers to express their opinions. They do not necessarily represent the views of The Herald.