Bizarre royal fact of the week: The Queen is on LinkedIn. Well, to be fair, The Royal Household is on the networking social media platform but it's nice to see that even 1209-year-old institutions can occasionally embrace modernity. (Like when Prince Albert and his son Prince Edward helped introduce the flushing loo to Britain.)
Currently, they're hiring a senior IT project manager and boyo do they need a computer whiz and fast.
The house of Windsor could be about to find itself embroiled in a tech-related disaster.
Here's the situation. In 1997 the royal family launched its own spiffy website to stake out the monarchy's territory on the world wide web. Some of the handy things the site keeps the public abreast of includes the Swan Upping (the annual census of all the swans on the Thames, all of which the Queen technically owns), how much Sovereign Grant money they've been spending (oodles) and the line of succession.
But six weeks after the birth of Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's daughter Lilibet Diana, who is eighth in line to the throne, is still for some reason missing from the official list of Windsors and how close they are to the throne.
The Lili omission has the potential to set off a fresh Sussex-related firestorm thanks to the question mark over whether their children, the only children in the royal family who have a bi-racial parent, are being treated differently to other Windsor kidlets.
It simply beggars belief that this website situation has been allowed to happen given that 2021 is in strong contention to be the Queen's Annus Horribilis 2.0 for a variety of Harry and Meghan-shaped reasons.
So far this year, Lili's parents and Oprah's neighbours/friends rocked the monarchy to its foundations by airing a series of brutally devastating claims about the royal house on TV. (C'mon that was déclassé, pets.)
Added to which, the bub's arrival set off a new flap thanks to her parents' controversial choice of name (Lilibet being the Queen's personal pet moniker) seeing the duke and duchess firing off a legal letter accusing the BBC of libel.
Despite all of this, still no one inside Buckingham Palace has seen fit to get around to adding Lili to the official roll call of the Windsors and their proximity to the crown.
So, IT oversight of the decade or calculated snub?
Perhaps the bigger question is, does it matter? The fact that the palace has failed to include Lili so far and for weeks on end after her birth carries with it quite the sting.
What is interesting is that when the palace wants to, they can certainly get their IT ducks in a row and update the website much faster.
When Prince Louis, William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's second son and fifth-in-line to the throne was born in 2018, royal.uk/succession was updated 12 days after his arrival (based on information available via the internet archive).
In 2019, when Lili's big brother Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor arrived, it took 15 days for him to be added to the succession page.
On February 9 this year, Princess Eugenie welcomed her son August Philip Brooksbank. It took 61 days after his birth for the website to be amended, slotting the bub into 11th place. Given that August is dynastically irrelevant and most people couldn't pick Eugenie out of a line-up of fascinator-wearing junior Sloanes then that's not so bad a turnaround time.
But Lili is a whole other ball game and the climate right now is nothing short of combustible. One spark, one instance of her being ostensibly cold-shouldered by the palace and the entire Sussex PR tinderbox could go up in flames again.
It is not as if her birth was a surprise so why weren't they poised to sort this out tout suite?
One of the most damaging claims made by Meghan during the Oprah interview was that there was doubt about whether their son would be made a prince when Charles becomes King. (Under the 1917 Letters Patent, both Archie and Lili will ultimately become HRHs and prince/princess when their Grandpa Charles takes the throne.)
The duchess told the talk show host, "while I was pregnant, they said they want to change the convention for Archie", seemingly referring to the 1917 Letters Patent.
"They didn't want him to be a prince or princess, not knowing what the gender would be — which would be different from protocol," she said.
She also pointed out that any change would mean "the first member of colour in this family not being titled in the same way that other grandchildren would be".
In this highly combustible climate, one would have thought that the palace would be extremely, if not excessively, conscious of anything that could be construed as a slight to the Sussexes to prevent any further PR conflagrations. (Hell, they have yet to even fully douse the flames of the Oprah firestorm and we are four months on.) Surely they would be doing anything and everything possible to shield themselves from any future potential accusations of racism.
The palace's seeming lack of urgency on the Lili/website front is breathtaking.
Or to put it another way, someone has gotten around to updating the royal.uk website to include all the handy details of this year's Swan Upping (it starts on Monday!) but they have not gotten around to adding Lilibet to the line of succession.
Talk about fiddling while Rome is threatening to burn.
(In fact, search "Lilibet Diana" on their site and not a single thing relating to the little girl turns up.)
The palace's handling of this whole situation is in line with their clumsy, inept handling of the broader Sussex contretemps, such as the decision to not specifically address the Sussexes' Oprah race claims by trying to sweep things out of public view by imperiously labelling the issue "private".
Sorry Your Majesty, that doesn't fly when you're head of the Commonwealth, an organisation that is made up by a majority of nations of people of colour.
So far the only thing Buckingham Palace has proven this year is that prising their liver-spotted fingers off the traditional royal crisis playbook is nigh on impossible. What they yet to actually fully comprehend, and act on, is that thin-lipped, Sphinx-like muteness just won't cut it in an age of truth-telling TV specials and soul-baring podcast confessionals.
There is no two ways about it here: It is depressingly on brand for the royal family not to have gone on the offensive post-Oprah and that they continue to let the seeds of potential crises foment.
Sigh. When will they ever learn?
Here's my suggestion. It's time the Windsors adopted a new mantra: less swans, more Sussex. It's time to focus on digging the monarchy out of their current mess and not on counting waterfowl.