Ep 8. All together now

It’s Her Majesty’s birthday but instead of letting off cannons, honouring knights or playing gin rummy with Madge, her Lady in Waiting, the Queen is on Zoom. The video call is split three ways, linking Windsor, Norfolk and Karori.

“I like the medieval backdrop she’s chosen,” Meghan whispers to Harry, seated together in view of the screen. “The toiling peasants in the field outside, the silverware heaped around the room, the burning bunches of sage leaves to ward off disease.”

“It’s not a backdrop, it’s just Windsor Castle,” says Harry.

“Kate and I are here, Granny,” William says, from the Georgian splendour of his country residence, Anmer Hall. Kate offers a dazzling smile.

“Great, it’s Suck-Up and Slaphead,” hisses Harry.

“Mute your microphone, Harry,” remarks the Queen.

Great, it’s Suck-Up and Slaphead.

Harry, on Wills and Kate

“Let’s get this jolly thing done,” says Prince Philip, irritably. “Where the hell is Charles?”

“He’s on his way over from Karori Park,” Camilla says, settling herself into an armchair with an Aperol Spritz. “He’s doing awfully well with his canine obedience demonstrations, you know. They absolutely throng with onlookers.”

“What sorts of commands is he teaching?” asks the Queen.

“Sit, obviously,” says Camilla. “Stay.”

“Shame you didn’t learn that one, Harry,” remarks William. His brother turns red with annoyance.

“Walkies,” continues Camilla.

“Meghan’s got that one nailed,” adds Wills. Meghan goes pink.

“Not Die for the Queen, I hope,” says Her Majesty, mildly.

“Heavens no,” says Camilla. “He’s changed that to Roll Over For Mummy.”

“He’s been doing that for 70 years,” says Philip. Camilla goes purple.

“Let’s just get orn with it,” Philip continues. “First of all, a cheer for Her Majesty on her 94th birthday. Happy Birthday, Old Boot.”

“I’ll never understand this family,” mutters Meghan.

“Hip hip, hooray!” everyone else says.

“Next on the agenda, this bloody book that’s coming out about the Sussexes.” There’s an icy silence. Harry and Meghan exchange a glance. “Promising an intimate portrait of two rebels, liberated from royal bonds to earn an honest living,” continues Philip, reading from his notes. He looks up. “It’s called Finding Freebies.”

Finding Freedom,” corrects Harry. “I can assure you, Grandpa, it will be in the best possible taste, like everything we do.”

“Such as handing out sex toys in suburban New Zealand?” says Wills, archly.

“Yoni eggs support the pelvic floor muscle,” snaps Meghan “Now, thanks to us, Karori moms fear nothing when they sneeze.”

Thanks to us, Karori moms fear nothing when they sneeze.

Meghan Markle

“This book sounds terrible,” says Philip, getting cross.

“It’s no worse than the memoir Pippa Middleton published,” retorts Harry. “Does My Bum Look Famous in This?”

“Or Camilla’s coffee table book about her spaniels,” adds Meghan. “Toothless Betty & Incontinent Pip: a love story against all odds.”

“Or anything by Sarah, Duchess of York,” says Harry. “Budgie the Helicopter Sells Access to Andrew.”

“I want it pulped,” insists Philip. “Next on the agenda: the Cambridges.”

“We’ve been frightfully busy,” says Kate, silkily. “Clapping for nurses.”

“How are the children?” asks the Queen.

“Louis is fingerpainting,” says Kate. “Charlotte is learning her shapes. George is with his tutor at the moment, studying the constitutional history of the United Kingdom and the right of primogeniture.”

“Jolly good,” says Philip. “But there’s a problem, I’m afraid.”

“The people of Norfolk are restless,” says the Queen. “They’re a bit cross that a family of rich Londoners have escaped to the country, potentially spreading contagion in a region with little specialist care.”

“Restless?” repeats William.

“Haven’t you seen the burning crucifix on your front lawn?” barks Philip. “The locals want you gone.” He slaps his knee, furiously. “I blame the Beckhams, and that sodding Gordon Ramsay.”

“I agree entirely,” adds Camilla. “Lounging around their country homes on Instagram, in flat caps and Burberry jackets. Posh Spice has never gutted a rabbit in her life, or jugged a hare.”

“So we’re sending you to Karori,” says Philip.

“WHAT?” say Wills, Kate, Harry and Meghan.

“United front, and all that,” says the Queen, with a tight smile. “It would be the most perfect birthday gift I can imagine, seeing my grandsons burying the hatchet.” There’s an uncomfortable pause. “That’s settled, then.”

“Good gracious,” Camilla thinks aloud. “Two Dukes, three Duchesses and a King in Waiting, right here in Karori?”

“What on earth will we do all day?” asks Kate, aghast.

“What do you do all day now?” wonders Meghan.

“Where do I start?” says Camilla. “They’re desperate for volunteers at Karori Normal School’s Kiss & Drop. Someone needs to trim the hanging baskets at Marsden Village; the lobelia has run amok. Bill needs a butcher’s boy to deliver schnitzels to old people. And it says here,” she holds up the community paper, “that Marsden Books is for sale.”

“How promising,” says the Queen. “It does sound as if the neighbourhood is in desperate need of royal support. My only question to William and Harry is: will Karori be big enough for both of you?”

In the next compelling instalment, Wills & Kate arrive and Sir Bill English very probably makes a cameo

Ep 6. Meghan’s plan

Camilla bursts into the drawing room to find Harry fuming, and Meghan leafing angrily through a magazine.

“Bloody Aunt Anne,” Harry is saying, sourly.

“What’s going orn?” Camilla wants to know.

“Princess Anne’s in Vanity Fair,” Meghan says, pained. She looks at Charles. “It’s a magazine for rich Americans who don’t have the attention span for books.” Then she wails, “She’s the COVER.”

“She’s given an interview, slagging us off,” adds Harry.

“Come, come,” says Charles. “I think it’s mostly harmless. She spends a page and half talking about the benefits of tweed.”

“Oh, tweed is frightfully practical,” agrees Camilla. “It’s perfect for the saddle and, with the right tiara, a state banquet.” She settles herself on a fat sofa. “And why wash anything that’s already the colour of dog?”

“She says ‘younger Royals’ want to reinvent the wheel by trying new ways of doing things,” says Meghan. “She says we should follow the example set by wiser, older royals. Like you guys.”

“What are you doing, Pa?” Harry asks Charles, who has just begun scribbing furiously.

“I’m writing a memo to the New Zealand Prime Minister, asking her to consider a homeopathic way forward,” says Charles. “It’s my opinion that bergamot has anti-viral qualities warranting further examination.” He puts down his pen. “I’m also suggesting talking to plants.”

“I say this with love,” continues Meghan, “But this family hasn’t lived in the real world for, like, a really long time. You guys think everybody’s butter comes stamped with a coat of arms.

“You know, I liked Anne. I thought we had a connection. I mean,” she waves a hand, uncertainly, “I like oats. She likes oats.”

I thought we had a connection. I like oats. She likes oats.

Meghan, on Princess Anne

“What I don’t understand is why you both had to dump us and move to America,” says Camilla.

“Malibu isn’t America,” says Harry. “It’s better.”

“In the same way that celebrities aren’t people,” adds Meghan. “They’re better.”

“And why are you even here?” Camilla goes on. “I thought you were buying Mel Gibson’s house.”

“We were,” says Meghan, “But Donald Trump talked Mel out of it.”

“So we’ll probably buy Cher’s,” says Harry. “Once our allowance comes through.” He and Meghan stare pointedly at Charles, who nervously tugs an ear.

“While we’re here, we’re determined to make a difference in our own way,” says Meghan, defiantly tossing her hair.

“How do you propose doing that?” asks Camilla, tartly.

“We’ll do good works privately and humbly, without attracting attention,” replies Meghan, “And then we’ll post the photos on Instagram, and tip off Good Morning America.

“You know, on the drive through Karori today, the deprivation was obvious,” she goes on. “I didn’t see a single Trader Joe’s, or Nobu, or Soho House. How do people here keep themselves healthy? Or network?”

“It’s not all bad,” says Camilla. “There is a One Fat Bird. Kids eat free on Sundays.”

“We drove past the mall and I was horrified, right, Harry?” says Meghan. “No Chanel. No Stella McCartney. No Victoria Beckham.”

“There’s Brumby’s the baker in the village,” adds Harry, “but no paleo bread.”

“Can you imagine how glutinous their diets must be around here?” implores Meghan. “They’re all walking around in their bubbles with their chakras blocked. And why have a headstone engraving business on the main street? It sends the wrong message to people. Instead of saying, Welcome to Karori! We know how to live! It says, Welcome to Karori! This is where you’ll die!”

“You must admit, Karori has kerb appeal,” says Camilla. “It’s obvious the ladies of Hatton, Homewood and Friend Streets keep their herbaceous borders beautifully trimmed.”

“An enormous relief to their husbands,” adds Charles.

“I want to nourish the people, and feed their souls,” declares Meghan. “Starting right now. Come on, Harry – I have an idea.” She sweeps out of the room, and Harry trots after her.

“There are three people in that marriage, Charles,” says Camilla. “Him. Her. And Oprah Winfrey.”

There are three people in that marriage. Him. Her. And Oprah Winfrey.

Camilla, on Harry & Megs

In their bedroom, Meghan is slicing open a box. It has GOOP written across the side. “Gwyneth sent me a care package,” she’s saying, excitedly. “I think this will be perfect to boost everyone’s spirits.”

Harry peers inside, to see a jumble of jade eggs and scented candles. “Are you sure about this, Meghan?” he asks.

“Harry. Was I wrong when I wrote on bananas to sex-workers?”

Meghan winds a Givenchy scarf around her nose and mouth and tugs on a baseball cap. “This is a guerrilla act of kindness. Karori needs it. Karori needs us. They just don’t know it yet.”

She snatches the box, and disappears into the night.

In the next riveting instalment, uproar at Karori Mall and the Windsors Zoom the Queen on her birthday