“And what do you do?”

It is the question the Queen supposedly asks the many common people who are introduced to her when she is out on manoeuvres across the country.

Soon she could be asking her grandson Prince Harry the same question the next time he pops back from north America with Meghan and little Archie.

The Duke of Sussex or the Earl of Dumbarton as we are to call him when he is in Scotland has said he will not be returning to Royal duties.

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Good for him. There must be more to life for a young man than going round shaking hands with strangers for a living, especially now as both meeting strangers and shaking hands is off limits.

But what about the rest of the clan?

As we are examining all aspects of life as a result of the covid pandemic and lockdown and expecting to right wrongs, iron out anomalies and try to create a better, fairer world for everyone should we look at the role of the Royals in a modern Britain.

No one would seriously doubt the responsibility the Queen feels about her role as Monarch and her commitment to carrying it out as best she can.

But do we really need the others, who as years go by become more of an irrelevance in terms of the line of succession.

There is a scene in The Crown when Prince Charles calls his two brothers the B team.

He reminds them how far down the pecking order they will fall when he has more children and when they in turn grow up and have children of their own.

Glasgow Times:

We are at that point now.

Where once, Prince Andrew was second in line to the throne, and Edward third, The Duke of York is now eighth and Edward eleventh.

In time Prince William’s second and third born children, Charlotte and Louis, and their children, if they have any, will suffer the same demotion as elder brother George becomes a father and one day becomes heir and King.

There still seems to be an affection in the UK for a monarchy and even in the independent Scotland, envisioned by the SNP at least, there was no question of getting rid of the Queen and her heirs as head of state.

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But the others, the B team, who then become the C and the D team and some who resort to using their status to flog milk in China, is there any need for them?

Counting the Queen’s immediate family, her children grandchildren and great grandchildren there are more than 20 in line to the throne, with two year-old Lena Tindall in at number 21.

Then it becomes ridiculous.

Who, I ask is Prince Richard?  He is the Duke of Gloucester and is currently 28th in line to the throne. But when he was born he was a lofty fifth, before the Queen had her first child.

Glasgow Times:

Alexander Windsor, Earl of Ulster, 29th in line. Lady Gabriella Kingston, 53rd. Nicholas Witchell, Earl of Marylebone, 55th. Ok, I made the last one up, but it’s surely no more absurd.

Glasgow Times:

Due to tenuous family links there are people who have enormous privilege and wealth the rest of society is excluded from.

The extended Royal family and assorted aristocracy in the UK entrenches a system of inequality and class-based patronage that penetrates deep into our society.

The Duke of Buccleuch, not in the line of succession, but a landowner with more than 200,000 acres of land, and someone at the heart of the system of patronage, who at some stage in a huge Royal Family tree would be close to the throne.

He is just one of many, who flow from the power of the Royal Family and the influence that even minor members of the family enjoy.

The further down the line of succession you look, the less value there is to the country of these people having titles.

The titles and the connections however, are of immense value to them, allowing great wealth to be inherited, or accumulated.

Removing titles from minor royals and assorted hangers-on wont solve inequality in the UK but it can help end a culture of entitlement, and deference based purely on the accident of birth.

So, Prince Harry is looking to carve out a role for himself and his young family away from Royal responsibilities. He can never escape who he his and who his father, and brother are.

His connections will never leave him and he will be able to exploit his birth for the rest of his life, should he choose to.

But if he and Meghan are serious about wanting to live without publicity, let them and wish them well.

Give up the titles and any rights that come with them, it is unlikely they will suffer poverty or economic hardship as a result of it.

And maybe their cousins, the Yorks and Wessexes offspring can take a leaf out of Harry’s book.

They might even enjoy it.

The rest of the country will one day have a decision to make.

While wishing her as long and healthy a life as possible, one day, of course, the Queen will no longer be Queen.

Glasgow Times:

For most of  us, with the Queen's reign being longer than most of our lifetimes, a new Monarch will be a new and strange experience.

At that point there is no doubt the role and future of the monarchy and all it entails will come under renewed scrutiny.

Why wait for then? Why not start now?