COMMENT

Here's a spot of aristocratic trivia: Traditionally only brides or married women are supposed to wear tiaras. That is why right now, Princess Beatrice should be rooting around in the Buckingham Palace jewellery vault trying her darnedest to work out which honking great diamond dazzler she should wear for her May 29 wedding.

The operative word in that sentence is clearly "should". Over the course of the last few days, the world has tipped that much closer to some sort of invisible, terrifying precipice as vast swathes of the world tries to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Its impact has affected families the world over and the Windsors are no different. On the weekend, the British Government's COBRA group made the decision that the Queen would be moved to Sandringham, her Norfolk estate if she needed to be isolated. Meanwhile, two of her upcoming engagements have been cancelled.

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Given the state of the world right now, and while no official announcement has been made, the chance of Beatrice walking down the aisle on the appointed date looks slimmer and slimmer, especially given that much of her fiance Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi's family comes from Northern Italy.

For the royal family, after months of self-induced crises, a wedding would have been just the ticket. It would have offered a serious jolt of feel good PR that would have helped start to dispel some of the lingering funk of controversy that has firmly settled over Buckingham Palace of late. It would also, after reports of rifts and disharmony, have been an excellent chance to put on a display of Windsor family unity.

It is not just Bea's wedding that will potentially have to be scratched from royal calendars. The UK spring and summer are usually chockablock full of outings and official engagements for the Windsors including Ascot and the Chelsea Flower Show.

Then there are the Queen's garden parties which see about 30,000 people, in both London and Edinburgh, stuff themselves with finger sandwiches while Her Majesty makes regal small talk.

Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi. Photo / Getty Images
Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi. Photo / Getty Images

Again, the possibility that these will go ahead seems to be diminishing by the minute.

Over the weekend, Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, announced that they would be pulling out of a tour to Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Cyprus and Jordan.

At the same time, the BBC is reporting that all Brits over the age of 70 will soon be asked to stay at home for an extended period of time. Should this come into effect, it would see all of the working Windsors, bar William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Edward and Sophie the Earl and Countess of Wessex, forced to pop their feet up on a chintz sofa and hunker down with Netflix for the near future.

All of which is happening right when the Firm so desperately needs all of their remaining working members out and about doing their best to shore up the royal family's currently shaky image.

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Whoever once said "there is no such thing as bad publicity" clearly had not come across the Queen and her extended family.

Not even three full months into the year and barely a week has passed without another sensational story about a Windsor or three dominating the headlines.

Harry and Meghan dramatically quit, raising the spectre of just what unpleasantness might have gone on behind the palace gates to make them so desperately want out.

Meanwhile, clamourings about Ice Age-level frostiness between the Sussexes and Cambridges have only grown louder, something not helped by last week's stand-offish performance when the two couples came face-to-face at Westminster Abbey.

Meanwhile, the words "Prince Andrew" and "FBI" keep appearing in sentences together which must surely be giving even the steeliest of private secretaries a few bad nights of sleep.

Essentially, the last little while has been far less about dignity and duty and more akin to some sort Aaron Spelling soap opera replete with runaway royals, a convicted criminal, and Dynasty-worthy levels of feuding.

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After being so deeply mired in scandal for so long now the royal family are in dire need of drastically changing their public narrative. They need a sharp tack in terms of their public standing – less dysfunctional, entitled HRHs and more hardworking team, knuckling down to support the sovereign and do their bit for Blighty.

And to do that, they need some jolly pictures of them wearing jolly hats doing jolly things. They need a Cinderella-esque wedding, dozens of photos of a beaming Kate peering at gladioli at the Chelsea Flower Show and a handful of cute new snaps of the Cambridge kidlets. They need a concerted series of upbeat events which are so charming and pretty that they will start to blot out all the bitterness and sadness of recent times in the public's memory.

That would be no easy task at the best of times and in the circumstances, basically impossible. The Queen and co have a lot to prove right now and instead they are most likely going to be sequestered away behind high palace walls.

And Beatrice? I really hope the Queen has lent her a tiara to take home. Even a Princess needs something lovely and sparkly to cheer her up while she self-isolates.

Daniela Elser is a royal expert and writer with 15 years experience working with a number of Australia's leading media titles.

What you need to know.
What you need to know.