May should be a great month for the royal family. Should, mind you. In a normal year, the month would see the house of Windsor indulge in two of their great passions: Opening suitably genteel events, all retired Colonels and Home Counties matrons done up in their best pearls, and spending time with horses.
(Namely, the Chelsea Flower Show, the Badminton Horse trials and the Royal Windsor Horse Show. Giddy up!)
But this is not a normal year for the royal house, far, far from it and not just because of the global pandemic that has kept much of the world's population inside and bingeing on Netflix and self-indulgent doom scrolling.
We might only be four months into 2021, but the royal family has faced more crises since the clock ticked past midnight on December 31 than when Diana, Princess of Wales let a Panorama TV crew into her sitting room.
Barely a week has gone by without some story, generally somehow connected to Harry and Meghan, Duke and Duchess of Sussex, erupting and gobbling up all the media oxygen and social media attention.
Faced with the tantalising drama of series two of Megxit, so to speak, who cares a jot that the Queen has mastered Zoom or that Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, has undertaken one of her signature Worthy But Dull engagements?
So far this year there has been a trans-Atlantic tussle over titles, a Notting Hill-esque baby reveal, a demeaning bus-top TV appearance, a prime-time TV special, charges of horrifying racism and indifference to a mental health crisis and the death of family patriarch and Land Rover aficionado Prince Philip.
However, for the Queen & co, the coming May could see things get much worse. Again.
Early this morning it was announced that Harry and Meghan are "campaign chairs" of Vax Live, a charity concert set to be held in LA on Saturday May 8 which will see the duo joined by President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Ben Affleck, Chrissy Teigen, David Letterman, Gayle King, Jimmy Kimmel and Sean Penn.
French President Emmanuel Macron and the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will also take part, while Jennifer Lopez, Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder and the Foo Fighters are set to perform.
The goal of all of these egos and entourages being crammed into one stadium is to raise money to help provide vaccines for low and middle-income countries.
Now where, we could just write this Sussex venture off because this is hardly unexpected or shocking. But the predictability of this move in no way undermines the fact that this will be a milestone moment in the couple's assault on the US market or the fact that this concert will signify, for the first time since they waltzed out of royal life in March last year, Harry and Meghan truly making their real-world US debut.
This is Harry and Meghan unleashed.
And that's why something tells me sales of gin within a one kilometre radius of Kensington Palace are about to jump. Again.
See, the Sussexes' arrival in the US last year coincided with the beginning of the Covid lockdowns, meaning they were forced to spend their first year making do with a surfeit of Zoom outings and, I'm guessing, a lot of kombucha-fuelled, blue-sky-thinking, idea-shower brainstorming free-for-alls with their LA team, I'm guessing, preparing for when their life began again.
Whatever grand plans they might have conjured up, they had to keep, them on ice and wait out the devastating march of the virus.
However the US, unlike Australia (COUGH Scotty, cough), is barrelling towards being fully vaccinated and open for business, and as restrictions are eased across the country, we are getting incrementally closer to Harry and Meghan finally revealing the full extent of their vision for their philanthropic and money-spinning endeavours.
And that should have royal courtiers shaking in their hand-stitched boots.
If Harry and Meghan's video calls and quasi-official outings such as their visit to Los Angeles Commonwealth war graves on Remembrance Day last year already posed a threat in terms of overshadowing and eclipsing interest in, and coverage of, the royal family in London then things are about to get a lot more difficult.
When Harry and Meghan step onto that stage with Biden and JLo, not only are they going to look wonderfully charismatic, glamorous and impeccably connected but the global scope of this first major outing will position them as leaders on the world stage.
This will be the promise of the Sussexes finally realised: Powerful, with a worldwide scope, and totally electrifying.
The issue for Buckingham Palace here isn't to do with popularity. A new YouGov poll released overnight found the public opinion of most senior members of the royal family has only improved in the wake of the Sussexes' Oprah interview and their claims of palace racism and cruelty.
The headache here lies in the rise of two opposing visions of royalty in the 21st century as the royal house enters the twilight of the Queen's reign. In the years to come, when the crown passes to Charles, the royal family has the fight of its life on their hands to sway younger generations to the monarchical cause.
That campaign of persuasion, even with bobby dazzlers Harry and Meghan on board, was always going to be tough; their exit only made that project significantly more Everest-like.
Beyond that, Megxit didn't just result in the palace losing their star players; it is also going to ultimately result in the unveiling of a competing view of what royalty can look like and achieve.
The danger here is that Buckingham Palace is going to be found increasingly wanting.
Only days after the Sussexes' concert, on Tuesday, May 11, the Queen will host the State Opening of Parliament for the first time since 2019 and the contrast between these two disparate versions of royalty could not be more dramatic.
While Her Majesty's Westminster foray will be a reminder of the grandeur and constitutional heft of the monarchy, all those diamonds and all that bowing and scraping will also make the crown look like an antediluvian, pompous beast.
By contrast, the Sussexes' interpretation of contemporary royal service will most likely be thrilling: It will present them as dynamic, engaged and using their platform and renown to spectacular impact around the world.
How can a ceremony that features someone whose official title is Lady Usher of the Black Rod and a whole lot of pompous theatricality compete with the adrenaline buzz of Washington and Hollywood coming together to sweep in and save the world? All that's missing are a few billowing capes and a stirring Hans Zimmer theme tune.
In essence, all of this comes down to one rendering of royalty as impressive, grand figureheads who remain above the fray; and the other as good Samaritans willing to throw themselves into the ruck and maul for the sake of those less fortunate and their nascent brand.
The only good news for the Queen so far; remember the Chelsea Flower Show? It will still be held this year, only now in September. If there is one thing the world – and the palace – has learnt over the last year is that things can always get messier and more complicated.
So, maybe someone could think of something nice for her to do that involves a horse too? A nice dash of gee-gee-related cheering up? I have a feeling Her Majesty is going to need it.
• Daniela Elser is a royal expert and a writer with more than 15 years experience working with a number of Australia's leading media titles.