The wonderful thing about the modern monarchy is that it is much more than a constitutional figurehead. It is a collection of ordinary people captured by birth or marriage and kept in a cage of fantastic comfort for our edification, and it works.
What could be more ordinary than a newly married young couple chafing at the bit of family expectations and deciding they will make their own life?
What could be more normal than for the young couple to go about it the wrong way, especially in the age of social media?
What parent or grandparent, torn between protecting the family's interests and indulging the young couple would not do what the Queen has done?
Well these days many would not do what she has done. The bias of the times is toward endless tolerance and rights without responsibility. The Queen has made an admirable and exemplary decision.
She has not indulged Harry and Meghan's wish to be royal only when it suits them, nor has she cut them off. She said, "Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family." But they will no longer represent her in whatever they choose to do.
No more use of royal titles, no royal tours, no more public funds and they must repay the taxpayers' contribution to the refurbishment of their house. What better way to confront them with the challenge of their admirable ambition to be financially independent.
The enduring popularity of the British monarchy rests, I think, on its combination of unimaginable good fortune with common personal challenges. A person of lesser character would have reacted badly to being blindsided by the couple's website announcement. The Queen did not, she knew their declaration of independence was simply incompatible with royal duty and had a chat to Harry.
He probably already knew the Queen could not give him a free rein. What could be more common than the dilemma of a young man facing conflicting obligations to his family and his wife?
Meghan, quite obviously, was not royal. She'd made that obvious during their recent visit to Africa when she did a stand-up television interview complaining about her lot. Royalty doesn't complain, for good reason. To do so would be to take for granted the extraordinary privileges bestowed on them and refuse to accept the price in lost privacy.
Meghan and Harry have not had a particularly torrid time from media, nothing like the coverage they will see if they appear to be cashing in on Harry's royal birth. They have certainly ensured themselves closer attention than had they continued undertaking activities with the Queen's blessing.
It is in fact possible for royals who are not heir to the throne to keep well out of sight if they wish. Princess Anne and Prince Edward are probably not hounded by paparazzi. Prince Andrew obviously knew nobody was watching him in New York.
Privacy is not Harry and Meghan's primary wish. They want publicity but only on their terms and believe they can get that with their website. But if social media is as powerful as it is thought to be, why do citizens of that world still care what appears in mass media?
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Royals willingly pay the price of their position because they know that, to put it bluntly, nobody really needs them. If British public opinion turned against them and was no longer willing to finance the palaces, castles, princes, princesses, courtiers, coaches, horses and all, Britain would be fine.
But it would lack something splendid. Not just the dignity and pageantry of a constitutional monarchy but the fascinating anachronism, offensive in principle, of selection by birth.
Britain is fortunate that last century, after other royal houses had disappeared with their defeated empires or given way to democratic republics, Britain's monarchy developed a new dimension, the "royal family".
Biographer Ben Pimlott suggests in "The Queen" (HarperCollins, 1996), intense public interest in the family began in the 1930s. It owed much to new media of the time, radio and movies.
In the abdication crisis the public could hear royal emotions and when Britain got a new king with two little princesses they could see a family. By 1947, when Princess Elizabeth married Philip Mountbatten, who'd given up his Greek royal title, television was beginning and Pimlott records viewers' interest in the family at the wedding.
Historian G. M. Trevelyan noted then that the King, "appeals below the surface of politics to the simple, dutiful, human instincts that he and his own family circle represent".
Once royalty became a family it became much more than a constitutional or ceremonial institution, it became a social reference point, a family not so very different from most. It is not weakened by its crises, it is strengthened. Just like us all.