In the wake of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s decision to renounce their ‘HRH’ titles along with their Royal duties and instead seek financial independence and privacy, the British press has been full of wild stories as to how the ex-Royal couple are going to make ends meet. “We have it on good authority that, in their new role as ‘ordinary people’, Harry and Meghan are going to take up residence in a two bedroom council house on an estate in Slough,” claimed Daave Flask Royal reporter for The Shite. “It is their intention to lead ‘normal’ lives: claiming Universal Credit, shopping in Lidl drinking strong cider round the back of the local multi-storey car park.” By contrast, rival tabloid the Daily Excess has claimed that, far from being content with claiming the dole, the Queen’s grandson and his wife already have plans for their future employment. “Meghan has already been looking at second hand mopeds on Gumtree, with a view to becoming a freelance delivery person for the likes of Just Eat,” says Harry Pole, editor of the newspaper’s ‘Monarchy Watch’ column. “Only last week we were contacted by a chap in Bracknell, who told us that an American woman with a remarkable resemblance to the Duchess of Sussex, except with blonde hair, had made him an offer on his Honda. Obviously, she denied being Meghan in a wig and under bid him for the moped – a sure sign that already the Sussexes are feeling the financial pinch!”

The Excess has also claimed that, prior to the couple’s announcement of their disengagement from Royal life, Harry had angered the Queen by using his official Daimler as an Uber hire car, apparently in a practice run for his future, non-Royal, career. “A man in Bracknell told us that he was very surprised when his Uber ride turned out to be chauffeur driven,” Claims Pole. “He was even more surprised to find Prince Harry sitting in the back seat, giving the uniformed driver directions.” According to the newspaper, Harry and Meghan see their change of lifestyle as a ‘down shifting’, an opportunity to escape the stress of Royal life. “They are looking forward to necking pints in their local pub instead of having to attend tedious state banquets, for instance,” Pole asserts. “Moreover, Harry, in particular, is relishing the opportunity to leave behind the rigourous schedules Royal life – kissing babies in the morning, shaking hands with minor foreign dignitaries in the afternoon and attending charity fund raisers in the evening – for the more relaxing prospect of casual manual work, where can at least make his own hours.” Needless to say, these reports have been dismissed as ‘nonsense’, with the tabloids concerned accused of trivialisng what could still become a constitutional crisis.

But is it really a constitutional crisis, or just a load of old cobblers? Opinion amongst Royal ‘experts’ is divided as to the significance of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s decision to ‘step back’ from being ‘full time’ Royals. “Damn it, this is a constitutional crisis the likes of which hasn’t been seen since the abdication of Edward VIII,” declares Roger Dodgerly, Royal Correspondent of the Daily Norks. “It could easily lead to the end of the monarchy as we know it!” Such declarations have been dismissed as ‘hysterical’ by veteran Royal-watcher Hugh Ropley-Tossington, author of Muck House: Inside the Pleasure Palace, his celebrated expose of the seamier side of the House of Windsor. “This wholly spurious comparison seems to be based upon the fact that Edward VIII gave up the throne to marry an American divorcee while Prince Harry has married an American divorcee and, well, hasn’t given up the throne,” he told The Sleaze. “Indeed, as he isn’t actually directly in line to the throne any more, his decision to ‘opt out’ really shouldn’t be a big deal.” Nevertheless, the ‘crisis’ has resulted in Royal ‘summit’ meetings, interventions by the Queen and the Prince of Wales, not to mention endless press speculation, with it knocking everything else – Iran, the fact that Australia is ablaze, Brexit – off of the front pages.

But just why does the press and, apparently, the establishment they represent, feel that this development is such a threat? Could it be that they fear the fact that someone doesn’t like this privileged royal bubble they keep telling us mortals is so wonderful and is prepared to walk away, undermines the myth they are constantly peddling? “Well, obviously,” says Dodgerly. “I mean, Royalty, in the UK, represents the apex of the social pyramid, the ascension of which is peddled by us in the media as being the ultimate aspiration of the populace. The higher you go, the greater your wealth, power and privilege, the happier you will be. But Prince Harry’s recent actions give the lie to this, implying that the opposite might be true, which undermines the whole basis of the class system!” Indeed, Dodgerly fears that Prince Harry turning his back on the Royal life might even undermine the very basis of capitalism. “This could easily trigger a ‘crisis of capitalism,” he opines. “The whole system is based upon the concept of success through materialism and the accumulation of ‘stuff’. There is a real danger that Harry’s turning his back on the materialism of the monarchy could influence young consumers to do the same thing – to reject a life of acquisition in favour of trying to achieve happiness through other means. Such a collapse of consumer demand for ‘stuff’ could destroy capitalism!”

But others think that Harry and Meghan’s choices are highly unlikely to derail the monarchy any time soon. “Which is a real pity,” muses left wing firebrand and back bench Labour MP Ron Fetch. “The Royal family is an anachronism which serves only to validate and legitimise our archaic system of class, privilege and patronage.” Fetch is of the opinion that the Harry and Meghan non crisis has been used as a convenient cover by the establishment, to distract attention from the real crisis threatening the Royal family: Prince Andrew. “Just why was this story promoted as a constitutional crisis presenting an existential threat to the Royal family, when Prince Andrew’s connections with an international sex offender wasn’t?” he asks. “Surely allegations that one of Her Majesty’s sons was involved with underage sex slaves were far more damaging to the image of UK Royalty?” Hugh Ropley-Tossington believes that he has the answer. “Oh come now, isn’t it obvious? Unlike Prince Harry, his uncle’s alleged depravity wasn’t actually challenging the very basis of our culture of privilege,” he says. “On the contrary, it is reinforcing it by effectively implying that if you have enough money and access to power, you can get away with anything.”