Who would want to be Queen? That’s a question I think about a lot. Sure, the perks are pretty impressive: The vast, draughty castles at your disposal, getting to naughtily make the Prime Minister wait once-a-week and knowing you have the fourth fleet at your disposal but still … It’s a very boring and highly repetitive job that means working 363 days-a-year and committing to spend your entire life making trivial small talk while being forced to open Midlands leisure centres.
But for whatever reason that job is one that Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge seems to fancy, quite badly, and one she will get her perfectly manicured hands on in the next 20 years or so. However, if she wants there to actually be a throne still waiting for her then, in recent days, achieving that gilt-edged ambition became that much harder thanks to her uncle-in-law Prince Andrew.
The 61-year-old disgraced royal has had his attempt to have the civil sex abuse court case he is facing in New York dismissed, paving the way for the trial to go ahead towards later this year. In the coming months, he faces being deposed under oath and on camera over allegations that he raped Virginia Giuffre (nee Roberts) on three occasions when she was a teenager, a claim he has long denied.
Then, on Friday, the news broke that the Queen had finally decided to strip her son of his honorary military roles and that he would longer be allowed to use his styling as His Royal Highness in what looked like a too little, too late attempt to insulate the monarchy from the fallout of the Andrew mess. (Talk about trying to shut the barn door after all of Her Majesty’s pride-and-joy thoroughbreds have long since bolted …)
And it is here that the future Queen Catherine enters the frame because trying to sort out much of this debacle and yanking the monarchy back from the precipice will now fall on her shoulders. (Recently the Telegraph revealed that her husband Prince William has been known to charmingly find her after a hard day of royal graft offering and to ask, “Darling, can I get you a drink … a glass of champagne?” Handy, because she’s going to need it.)
Let’s start with the practical part of this equation.
Since Andrew initially stepped down as a working member of the royal family, a number of his former official roles including with the English National Ballet and the Outward Bound Trust have remained empty. Now, after the Queen’s defenestration of her son, there are even more vacancies which will need to be filled, including Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, Royal Colonel of the Royal Highland Fusiliers, and Royal Colonel of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.
Factor in too here the positions left vacant, including President of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, patron of the Royal National Theatre and Captain General of the Royal Marines, thanks to the hasty exit of Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in 2020.