This question is facetious of course. A royal of any rank is about as likely to be a republican as a pious Muslim to be a pig farmer or, for that matter, a pig to be a pious Muslim.
But sometimes our HRHs act as if they wished to hasten the advent of an RGB (Republic of Great Britain). Why, I don’t know, but I could venture a few guesses.
Some of them aren’t very bright. Some are irresponsible. Some have got tipsy on the spirit of the time (Zeitgeist, in the dynasty’s original language). Some, especially if they are only royal by marriage, don’t really understand what it means. Some haven’t been taught properly.
The latest case in point is Princess Beatrice’s little holiday on Abramovich’s yacht. This has drawn some flak from pundits, who display laudable numeracy by adding up all the princess’s holidays this year and getting the sum of 17, which they suggest is too high for an unemployed person.
Personally, I don’t care if Bea’s whole life is one contiguous holiday, especially if she combines ‘chillaxing’ with the odd bit of service she owes to the nation.
But it is indeed scandalous that she should accept an invitation from a man who made his billions in criminal ways, and one who’s widely known to be Putin’s personal banker – at a time when the realm of Bea’s grandmother is having a tiff with the KGB colonel.
The princess enjoys a life of privilege few ever know. She’s entitled to it – as long as she realises that the people are also entitled to something: her service to the dynasty and its subjects. Part of it is her weighing her every step, making sure they all lead to the same destination: a thriving British monarchy.
Hence she ought to be fastidious in her choice of companions to cavort with, making sure she always conducts herself publicly in a decorous, irreproachable manner.
No easy task, that, for a young, bubbly woman not blessed with excessive intellectual gifts. But someone must explain to her in no uncertain terms that she isn’t just any young, bubbly woman. She’s a princess who has duties to perform – even at the expense of denying herself some of the pleasures in which other young, bubbly women indulge.
Specifically, those British figures who stand for something other than just themselves should steer clear of any personal association with so-called Russian businessmen.
One realises that this would be too much to expect from the likes of Lord Mandelson, whose financial shenanigans twice got him sacked from the last Labour government, and who is now friends with the Russian aluminium king Deripaska.
But one expects probity from members of the reigning dynasty that’s supposed to embody the historical virtue of the realm. Yet Beatrice isn’t the only one who frustrates such expectations.
Prince and Princess Michael of Kent also insist on hobnobbing with various Russians whose power and wealth by definition have a dubious provenance.
Such as Mikhail Kravchenko, another Russian Mafioso, who three years ago was shot dead in Moscow. Shortly before that the victim had shared a Venice hotel suite with Princess Michael, whose husband has extensive business relations with Russians – in spite of knowing that business on this scale is only transacted in Russia by organised crime.
But Prince Michael wasn’t in the picture when his wife was photographed walking through Venice hand in hand with a much younger Mr Kravchenko. Speculation was rife that the princess’s relationship with him went beyond the ‘close friendship’ to which she owned up.
I really don’t care one way or the other, though Venice isn’t Milan and one doesn’t go there on business. But let the gossip columns ponder this. For me a ‘close friendship’ was bad enough.
Then let’s not forget Beatrice’s mother and aunt, whose joint efforts dealt the monarchy many a severe blow. Both women clearly suffered from the same cognitive dissonance: neither realised that, by marrying the heir to the throne and his brother, they forfeited the right to be ‘me’.
Their lives no longer belonged to them – they belonged to the nation and her two millennia of history. Diana and Fergie were duty-bound to sacrifice some of their natural instincts for a higher purpose, which duty they both ignored.
Diana, the ‘People’s princess’ in Blair’s apt phrase, chose to act like a young woman on the make, insisting on being ‘me’. She spread her favours so liberally that all of London was abuzz with sordid gossip, most of it true.
And Bea’s mother was routinely photographed by tabloids in flagrante delicto with young, athletic Americans, some of them sucking her toes, and not for strictly podiatric purposes.
I’m sure that, if asked, all royals will claim allegiance to the House of Windsor and everything it stands for. It’s just that some of their actions not only speak louder than their words, but also say diametrically opposite things.