AS A small-r republican and an American patriot, I instinctively regard royal families as outlandish — and the British royal family, descendants of that villain George III, especially so. So when an uproar broke out after Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle declared their intention to "step back" from their royal duties and concentrate instead on earning a living, my reaction was a tad on the smug side.
"Well, it's a start," I tweeted. "But it would be even better if Great Britain would finally 'step back' from the royal family. Kings and queens and dukes and princes are ridiculous." For good measure, I added Huckleberry Finn's succinct opinion of royalty: "All kings is mostly rapscallions."
Two weeks later, however, and somewhat to my surprise, I must confess: I'm impressed by how decisively, efficiently, and skillfully the royal family, and especially 93-year-old Queen Elizabeth, has managed the crisis set off by Harry and Meghan's bombshell.
"The Firm," as the royal family is wryly known, was reportedly given no advance notice of the couple's plans, which were announced to the world in an Instagram post. That was a grievous faux pas on Harry and Meghan's part. Yet without missing a beat, the queen conveyed not irritation but affection and sympathetic understanding for "Harry and Meghan's desire to create a new life as a young family." . . .