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SARAH VINE: What TV's Tom has got to tell Harry and Meghan

When celebrity couples announce they’re taking a break from social media, it usually means they’re either heading for rehab or the divorce courts.

So it was a relief to see that no sooner had the Duke and Duchess of Sussex taken tearful leave of their millions of Instagram followers they were back, broadcasting loud and clear via an alternative outlet: ITV’s Tom Bradby.

Bradby, you may remember, is the Royal interviewer who fed Meghan the line about no one ever asking her if she is OK, thus giving her the perfect opportunity to unleash the full force of those Bambi eyes.

Already they have secured lucrative deals with Spotify and Netflix, invested in some super-duper new health drink that’s endorsed by all the right people – and taken possession of a luxury home in the Californian hills

Having known Harry since he was a young man, and been a guest at the Sussexes’ wedding, Bradby has a knack for asking all the right questions – and as a consequence has been hand-picked by the couple as one of their trusted representatives on Earth.

Along with a few others – including Omid Scobie, co-author of that 300-page glorified press release, Finding Freedom – Bradby has privileged access.

And this evening on ITV, presumably to mark the anniversary of ‘Megxit’, he ‘opens up’ about how the pair are feeling now that they’ve left behind the dreary shores of Blighty for life in La La Land.

By most people’s standards, it’s been a huge success.

Bradby, you may remember, is the Royal interviewer who fed Meghan the line about no one ever asking her if she is OK, thus giving her the perfect opportunity to unleash the full force of those Bambi eyes

Already they have secured lucrative deals with Spotify and Netflix, invested in some super-duper new health drink that’s endorsed by all the right people – and taken possession of a luxury home in the Californian hills.

No more shaking hands in the drizzle with the wife of the under-gardener at Windsor for Meghan. She is now back where she belongs – surrounded by proper queens – the likes of Beyoncé, Oprah Winfrey and Elton John – not some white-haired old biddy in a padded riding gilet.

And Harry is where he wants to be, by his beloved’s side and unencumbered by Royal duty and tedious questions from the British press (not to mention his own brother). He has even, according to his new neighbour, Rob Lowe, grown a ponytail.

In theory, then, all good. Except, of course, it’s not. This is Harry and Meghan, remember. More drama than the season finale of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

It turns out that far from being delighted to have finally made a new start, poor Harry is ‘heartbroken’ at the situation with his family back home.

‘I think they wrestle with their position in life,’ Bradby gushes. ‘I think they all do.’

I’m sure Bradby means well. He wants the public to see the humans at the heart of this drama. But at a time when people are losing their lives and their livelihoods, I’m afraid Meghan and Harry’s ‘struggle’ seems at best irrelevant, at worst narcissistic. Don’t get me wrong: I am not one of those people who thinks that lucky people have no right to be unhappy. I have been extremely lucky in my life and I’m no stranger to the black dog.

But it is important to maintain perspective, and right now neither Harry nor Meghan – nor those close to them – are seeing this.

If Bradby really wants to help them, he needs to tell them this. He is a highly effective journalist and perfectly capable of speaking truth to power. The only possible explanation for why he doesn’t is that he is scared of being cut loose. It’s true that Harry can be very petulant when he doesn’t hear what he wants to hear. 

But, as the Queen herself put it so wisely, you can’t have it both ways. Either you’re a Prince of the realm, bathed in privilege but also bound by certain conventions, or you’re just an ordinary citizen subject to the vicissitudes of everyday life.

Similarly, either you’re Tom Bradby, respected broadcaster, impartial reporter, or you’re just another Scobie, a woke Boswell but without the balls or the wit.

I know which I’d rather be.

Harsh lesson for a lockdown mum

A friend of mine was reprimanded last week for not taking her son’s virtual PE lesson seriously enough. In a sentiment that I’m sure will resonate with more than one lockdown mum, she said: ‘They’ve already got me doing their job for them – what more do they want? Me running around my own kitchen in a pleated skirt and a sturdy bra, blowing a whistle?’ 

To which the answer, of course, is Yes. While simultaneously holding down your job, running the house and generally being everyone else’s unpaid skivvy. 

My son took an exam last week. Yes, that’s right, an actual exam, with an invigilator and everything. All from the comfort of his desk via a website called exam.net. The new Zoom? You heard it here first...

I must confess I quite like Laurence Fox – it’s refreshing to see an actor pushing back against the unrelenting wokeness of his profession. But even I think that posting a picture on Twitter of a fake mask-exemption certificate, bought off Amazon, is a spectacularly stupid thing to do.

Not only does it make it harder for people who genuinely do have reasons not to wear a mask to be taken seriously, it also smacks of pointless attention-seeking – and just undermines all the good work he’s done. Quit while you’re ahead, Mr Fox. We need you.

The number of reported incidents involving children who died or were seriously harmed following suspected abuse or neglect rose by a quarter after England entered its first lockdown. A quarter. I’m just going to leave that one there.

Forget the haves and the have-nots. In Covid Britain, inequality is all about the jabs – and the jab-nots.

If only gay actors are allowed to play gay roles, does that mean that only straight ones can play heterosexuals? Because that would be a great shame– not to mention it would put half the leading men in Hollywood out of a job.

More snow. Ordinarily this would mean transport chaos. But since no one’s going anywhere, who cares? Might as well enjoy it. If we’re allowed.

Sweet Joe’s not perfect after all

Sorry, but I can’t stop laughing at Joe Wicks’s little digestive indiscretion (he accidentally let rip live on air while delivering one of his exercise classes). 

Joe is a sweetheart, of course, but I am SO sick of being bossed around by self-improvement evangelists, forever reminding me how inadequate and lazy I am and putting me to shame with their perfect physiques. It’s cheering to know they can have off days too. 

Sorry, but I can’t stop laughing at Joe Wicks’s little digestive indiscretion (he accidentally let rip live on air while delivering one of his exercise classes)

President Trump will (finally) leave the White House on Wednesday. I used to think that the way Britain removes its prime ministers from office when they lose an election – booted out in a matter of hours – was unseemly and somewhat brutal. 

Given what has transpired in Washington, maybe that’s one old colonial tradition the Americans might want to reconsider. 

In desperation, I downloaded one of those mindfulness apps the other day, thinking that it might help me feel less furious about everything. Big mistake. 

Ever since I signed up, the damn thing won’t stop sending me emails exhorting me to join their cult, sorry community, of ‘mentally fit’ pioneers. So much for ‘relaxation’.

These gangs of police going around arresting old ladies for sitting on benches: do they think that the uniform offers them immunity from the virus? It certainly seems to act as a barrier to common sense.

Really glad for her sake that Lily Allen has found a happy home life with new husband David Harbour and her two daughters.

‘Touch wood, they are not going to turn into drug addicts like I did,’ she says. Let’s hope so. 

But maybe now she will have a better understanding of what it’s like for other parents whose children take their cue from the drugfuelled antics of celebrities like her.

Football news:

Real Madrid is ready to listen to proposals for Varane if contract negotiations do not start by the summer
Antonio Cassano: Juve bought Ronaldo to win the Champions League, but the results got worse. They took Serie A without him
Manchester United could buy Pau Torres from Villarreal. Kunde from Sevilla is too expensive
Lautaro Martinez: I negotiated with Barca, but that's in the past. I will sign a new contract with Inter
Miguel Veloso: Ronaldo is like Jordan, he's a legend. Cristiano will be the best scorer in the history of football
Dallas Hara forward: If Messi goes to MLS, I will kiss his feet
Manchester United are ready to consider offers for De Gea and Martial. Henderson wants to leave if the Spaniard stays