The Sunday Times column: Royals behaving badly: it’s time for the Windsors to let it all hang out (again)


I like the kitsch. I like the drama. I could fill a house with nodding corgis, Queen’s-head jelly moulds and commemorative wedding plates. More than anything, though, I appreciate the royal soap opera: thumbing tabloids to see if Harry’s flashing the crown jewels in Vegas or wearing an inappropriate uniform at a party, or if Kate’s brother has dressed up as a French maid, again.

The royals are most fun when they’re misbehaving. For royalists, it’s an insight; for republicans, proof. Who wouldn’t prefer a one-hour Panorama divorce special to staged christening photos? Or relish catching Harry red-handed, rather than yawning through a coronation.

The glimpses of real royal life — titbits, like discovering Charles has a valet who irons his shoelaces — the scandals and embarrassment, fascinate us. In the late 1980s and ’90s, the royals knew this: it was the heyday of daily divorce headlines, tell-all interviews and It’s a Royal Knockout, a one-off charity event, now inconceivable, that featured Prince Edward, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson cavorting with Meat Loaf and John Travolta in Olde England fancy dress.

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