Keeping Up With the Middletons. May 2017.

Dear Rowley,

Didn’t you stare beadily at Emma Watson when she accepted the first ‘gender-neutral’ acting gong at the MTV Awards for her turn in Beauty and the Beast? Apparently the thinking is that male, female or transgender performers – forgive me if I’ve missed anyone – are all ‘Actors’ and should not be discriminated against by being categorised.

Right-ho, so that means we’ll only have Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor statuettes at the Academy Awards next year? Tell that to Meryl Streep. She’d have your bollocks for earrings. Miss Watson was smashing as Hermi0ne but if I were she I wouldn’t be narrowing the window of opportunity for winning future awards. Let’s leave that right there.

I happen to think a lot of actors and actresses were robbed of Oscars because the Academy voted on political correctness rather than performance. And yet I notice all those actresses who are tub-thumping for gender equality will still take a decorative role in an action superhero franchise wearing costumes that set back women’s rights by decades. I think the best Oscars acceptance speech in recent years was Cate Blanchett’s for Blue Jasmine. The great Cate banged the drum for films led by ladies because people do want to watch them and because they make money. That is the language Hollywood understands. Taking away awards for women only seems a retrogressive step, no?

LaLa Land does seem to say an awful lot about LGBT equality considering you could count No 1 Box Office actors in screen history who are openly homosexual on one hand. I should think Hollywood’s record for out gay actors is on a par with Manchester United. Perhaps there are scores of directors, writers, producers and costume designers who are out and proud but can you name one gay actor in recent history who has played a straight leading role?

In other burning issues of the day, do you think the Duchess of Cambridge will wear a dress as tight as cellophane to Pippa’s wedding tomorrow to get her own back for 2011? I would imagine courtiers connected to Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Kensington Palace might be viewing the nuptials of Pippa Middleton to her multi-millionaire hedge fund fiancee as something of a code red.

In addition to the sisters Pippa and Kate, the Bucklebury wedding will also be the first official outing for Prince Harry’s actress girlfriend Meghan Markel. Three dazzling, pampered brunettes with Hollywood smiles, unlimited wardrobes and daily blow dries. Does that remind you of anyone? It’s England’s answer to the Kardashians with Carole Middleton as Momager Kris Jenner and Prince George a caucasian North West.

The Royal Family cannot afford to return to the soap opera years in the 1990s when Prince Charles and Diana Princess of Wales pitched battle in rival newspapers and the Duchess of York sucked Texan toes. It is the compliment of The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh that the Firm stabilised and won near-universal respect and admiration for service to the country.

The Windsors have been relatively scandal free in the 21st century. Prince Harry’s striptease in a Vegas hotel with a load of showgirls actually gave the ginger scamp kudos. Besides, there’s so much goodwill towards Prince Harry for his military service, Invictus Games and charitable activities. The trouble with Harry is that we like him as a bachelor prince serving as wingman to the Duchess of Cambridge and his brother. How will Britain respond to Princess Meghan?

In this day and age courtiers are much more concerned with Miss Markle being an actress than she being a divorcee. One can’t imagine the Duchess of Cambridge enjoying the competition from another leggy, chestnut-maned beauty who is utterly at home in the limelight. Mind you, Freddie Windsor married an actress. But they moved to LA.

The Kardashian comparison to the Middleton sisters first came into my mind when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge married. The bias cut hourglass dress that Pippa Middleton wore as maid of honour was a wolf whistle rendered in crepe de chine. It asked for fame. Then followed the execrable ‘Pippa Tips’ book about entertaining and the columns for Waitrose Food magazine and Vanity Fair that inspired bogus Twitter accounts and much mirth.

Granted, Pippa has nixed her media career but there seems to be an element of grandstanding surrounding her wedding. She’s no Chloe Green (bring me my tumbril) but there were stories in the press of official car sponsors for the Bucklebury bash to go with the £100,000 Crystal Palace marquee and the £40,000 Giles Deacon wedding dress. I wouldn’t be flabbergasted if Hello! already has the picture rights.

Perhaps like Princess Margaret and The Queen, Pippa can’t really win when compared to the Duchess of Cambridge. She doesn’t have the Kensington Palace machine to protect and promote her image and never will unless Prince Harry is the one to stand up when the vicar asks if anyone knows of any lawful impediment. That’s your soap opera, right there. Until next time…