Of all the trappings and frippery of palace life, of all of the symbolic totems of royalty, there is none more universally known, like the Coke logo or the Golden Arches, than the Royal Guards and their ludicrous bearskin hats.
Just under half a metre in height, the towering numbers have been worn by the Guards since 1815 when the Brits popped across the Channel and gave old Bonaparte the what-for at Waterloo. Even though one would think that the monstrosities can hardly suffer much wear and tear, the army reportedly still buys 50 to 100 of the things every year at a cost of $1,222 a piece.
And this year, when Buckingham Palace is hell bent on hammering home the dual messages of continuity and the endurance of the monarchy, one of these hoary hats will play a central role in the ongoing transatlantic family ding-dong that has dominated royal life, and royal coverage, for two years now.
Last week marked two years since Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, presumptuously threw in the monogrammed towel so they could move to California to make podcasts (well, so far, a podcast in the singular) and to learn first-hand about what a mortgage feels like.
We all know what came next: Harry stroppily taking potshots at his family and Meghan lobbing accusations of institutional racism and cruelty over the Palace gates.
It is not much of a surprise, given this frosty state of affairs, that the Duke has only returned to the United Kingdom since for reasons of abject necessity (his grandfather's funeral; the unveiling of the statue of his mother he co-commissioned) and that the Duchess has not at all. After all, it's hard to imagine her getting a rousing welcome from cheering crowds when she touches down at Heathrow.
But all that is about to change because in less than six months, celebrations for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, that is her 70 years on the throne, will culminate in a four-day long weekend and all-round national knees up and there by her side will be her family. All of them.
Yes, even the one who accused the house of Windsor of "total neglect" and the one who intimated her son was denied a title because she is bi-racial.
Which is to say, the Sussexes' return to London was always going to be deeply uncomfortable. But now? Now, the Queen has made their public return to the royal fold that much more of an unpalatable prospect for Harry for reasons involving his brotherly bete noire and one of those absurd bearskin hats.
On Monday, Buckingham Palace's staffers got out the good stationery and revealed the official programme for that four-day orgy of miniature Union Jacks and finger sandwiches which will kick off with the Trooping the Colour on June 2, the first time the big horsey pageant has been held since the pandemic started.
Every year, the extravaganza sees one regiment chosen to, well, troop the colour, that is basically be the military headliners and for 2022's outing, the Queen has chosen the Irish Guards.
And just who might happen to be the Colonel of the Irish Guards? Just who will get to prance about on his horse and be the dashing star of the show?
Why, Prince William of course!
Which means that on that Thursday in June, Harry will be forced to watch from the Buckingham Palace balcony as his brother takes centre stage and basks in all the glory and glowing headlines.
That William's regiment was chosen for this year hardly seems like a coincidence and the symbolism of the moment will be potent: the current sovereign proudly watching on while a future sovereign takes his place looking all grand and kingly while done up in full military regalia.
Further rubbing the Maldon salt into the wound here for Harry will be that despite actually being a veteran and having served two tours on the frontline in Afghanistan he was never, back in his official working royal days, allowed to actually participate in the actual Trooping the Colour.
While the Queen, Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Prince William, Princess Anne and Prince Andrew have all over the years taken part, the Duke of Sussex never has and never will now.
This superficially unfair arrangement comes down to the fact that while his brother, father and aunt are all royal colonels of the household division, Harry even back in the day, was not.
Even in 2019, after having taken over as the Captain General of the Royal Marines from Prince Philip, he was relegated to a carriage for the procession.
So, if before all of this Harry was not particularly looking forward to having to fly his family back to Blighty, the fact that now, once he is there, he is also going to be forced to watch on while William is feted must make the whole situation even harder to swallow.
(At this stage, there has been no indication that Harry and Meghan might bow out of attending the event and it would be surprising if they did. Time and again they have both made the point of saying how much they respect the Queen, whether you buy that line or not. Given that Trooping the Colour is her official birthday celebration anyway, and thus this is a family event rather than a state one, and that this year's is that much important because of the Jubilee, it would be highly surprising if they didn't show up. Also, it would be impossible for them to keep trawling out the 'too much respect' line if they didn't bite the bullet and put their frequent flyer points where their mouth is.)
The bad news, for Harry and Meghan, does not stop there. Remember how it's a four-day event? Well, the days following Trooping the Colour will see the Queen and her family take part in a series of big fun, cough, events en masse. Yeah!
Friday, June 3 will see a service of thanksgiving for Her Majesty held at St Paul's, the site of the world's most catastrophic royal wedding back in 1981, before on the Saturday the Windsors will join the Queen at Epsom for the Derby. (Prepare yourself: There will be so many hats. Go-to society milliner Philip Treacy is probably already on an IV drip due to exhaustion.)
The only clear upside for Harry in all of this? At least more family drama will give him something else to write about in his as-yet untitled memoir. He might never get the title but you know what they say – content is king.
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.