It's a strange world where two of the biggest royal stories today involve a controversial duchess and the stars of the Washington political firmament.
For a warm up act, we have Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall who, per The Daily Mail, has been telling friends US President Joe Biden farted in front of her when they met last week in Scotland.
(There's an easy joke here about hot air but I'll be a grown up and demur from making it.)
However the main event here is much less cheeky and much more of a serious – and growing - headache for the Queen, and all without a flatulent moment of levity in sight.
In short, how does the palace solve the burgeoning problem that is the ever more obvious political ambitions of Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex?
Here's the deal: late last week, it was reported that Meghan had been calling US senators to lobby them on the issue of paid parental leave, only weeks after she wrote an open letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the subject.
As Senator Shelly Moore Capito, a Republican from West Virginia, told the website Politico: "I'm in my car. I'm driving. It says caller ID blocked … and she goes, 'Senator Capito?' I said, 'Yes.' She said, 'This is Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex.'"
Susan Collins, a Republican Senator for Maine, also recounted: "Much to my surprise, she called me on my private line and introduced herself as the Duchess of Sussex, which is kind of ironic."
These calls (along with the revelation from Kirsten Gilibrand, one of the Democratic senators for New York, that "she wants to be part of a working group to work on paid leave long term and she's going to be") mark the Duchess's most clear cut and significant intervention in the political realm yet.
And therein lies the very serious rub here. Not that Mrs Meghan Mountbatten-Windsor, former small business owner and mother, wants to make her voice heard and raise her concerns with elected representatives, but that the 40-year-old was doing this all under the banner of the Duchess of Sussex.
Let's be clear here: from a purely constitutional standpoint, members of the royal family are required to remain the political equivalent of Switzerland.
This is not some bungling of royal protocol or up there with the time that Meghan closed her own car door and the British press corpsed themselves in a lather of harrumphing at her supposed egregious disregard for protocol.
Members of the royal family, by convention, don't vote and don't mess around on the edges of the politics of the day.
When, over the years, Prince Charles has weighed into the Westminster fray on matters ranging from the Patagonian toothfish to badger culls to the education system via personal letters which have come to be known as the Black Spider Memos, he has very rightly come in for repeated drubbings in the UK media, and from the left and the right, over this.
So, does it surprise anyone here that this latest Beltway move of Meghan's has reportedly left Buckingham Palace seeing red?
As one aide told the Times: "As a member of the royal family, if you use the title, it means you steer clear of those kinds of things … The royal family has no say in American politics. Campaigning is important, but there's a difference between campaigning on 'issues' like the environment and mental health, and aligning yourself with policies.
"The Duchess of Sussex doesn't have the right to have a more powerful voice [on the issue] than any other mother in America. She should not be playing in politics."
Elsewhere, another courtier described the Duchess's intercession as "outrageous".
And that's the sticking point here: Meghan Markle can be as vocal and impassioned as she fancies and all the more kudos to her for doing so; however the Duchess of Sussex is meant to remain schtum.
(What is intriguing here is that this particular distinction seems to have passed Meghan entirely by, with a source close to her telling the Times that she got in touch with those members of Congress "in her personal capacity as an engaged citizen".)
For the Queen and courtiers, these phone calls are far from an isolated incident and all signs point to the Duchess having set her sights on Washington.
Ever since she and Harry arrived in the US, there have been reports from credible outlets suggesting that the former actress might be considering some sort of run for office.
In September last year, the Duke and Duchess appeared in a video, ahead of the presidential election, in what was widely read as an endorsement of Joe Biden, the Democratic candidate for the Oval Office against Donald Trump.
(A palace aide told the Times then that their comments constituted a "violation" of the deal the couple had negotiated with the Queen when they quit and "the [royal] family are all wringing their hands, thinking: where is this going and does this abide by the deal to uphold the values of the Queen?")
Then came the news in February this year that she and Harry had had an hour-long meeting with California Governor Gavin Newsom. ("She's doing everything that's appropriate and allowed given her new position but she's definitely putting her toe in the water," one Democratic strategist said at the time.)
More recently, in September, when she and Harry arrived in New York for a whirlwind three days of Very Importantly striding in and out of meetings with everyone from the Governor of New York, the World Health Organisation, the US Ambassador to the United Nations and the Deputy General of the United Nations, it more keenly resembled a candidate out on the hustings than anything else.
Now, I personally think that Meghan Markle would be a sensational political operative who embodies the sort of progressive values that could translate to real gains for Americans. Vote one Meg!
But – the Duchess of Sussex? She belongs nowhere near the White House.
Given that the chances of the mother-of-two shelving her aspirations on this front seem about as likely as her buying a crate of MAGA hats or renouncing the power of oat milk, this puts the Queen in one hell of a bind when it comes to their titles.
If the Sussexes, either or both of them, continue to push their various political agendas, the question becomes whether Her Majesty will be forced to act in regards to their Sussex titles which were, of course, a wedding gift.
Actually officially removing them from the couple would require Parliament to get involved, which is highly unlikely, but one potential option could be for the 95-year-old monarch to ask them to no longer use their Sussex appellations, which is exactly what she did last year in regards to their stylings as His/Her Royal Highness.
(Harry was born and will always be Prince Henry and this can never be touched. If their ducal titles were put in abeyance, Meghan would be entitled to call herself Princess Henry.)
What is a real head scratcher here is why Meghan continues to wheel out her title in such instances as these calls to Senator when she must know it's like holding a red rag to a bull?
Why endanger the most marketable thing going for the couple?
For one thing, it makes her look like a hypocrite. She and Harry didn't want to remain a part of the royal stable but are happy to keep using the trappings that came with said job when it suits her purposes? Riiiight …
For another, why is she taking the chance and pushing the Queen into even more of a corner by continually deploying her title for political outings?
How long can things continue along this trajectory before Her Majesty is forced to act?
Not because of public opinion (though polling done in May this year found that only a scant 17 per cent of Brits thought that they should not lose or stop using their titles), but because the Queen has proven again and again that her absolute first priority is protecting the sanctity of the crown.
If that means a very awkward conversation between Windsor and Montecito, so be it.
With both sides of the aisle in Washington already revving up for next year's midterm elections, things could come to a head here sooner rather than later if the Duchess of Sussex keeps turning up on the political stage.
And that, of course, makes for some particularly unfortunate timing for the Queen, who will be celebrating 70 years on the throne in 2022, and could become just another vexing family issue to cast a pall over Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
(The much bigger ones here obviously being Prince Andrew being sued for allegedly raping a teenage sex trafficking victim, an accusation he has repeatedly denied, and Harry releasing his memoir.)
Those phone calls of Meghan's? They don't seem to have swayed the Republican senators she spoke to one iota.
As Susan Collins put it: "I was happy to talk with her, but I'm more interested in what people from Maine are telling me about paid leave."
• 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.