ALEXANDRA SHULMAN'S NOTEBOOK: Prince Harry's gone rogue – no return
8th January 2023

ALEXANDRA SHULMAN’S NOTEBOOK: Prince Harry’s gone rogue – and there is no coming back

One of the positive outcomes of Prince Harry’s spew of ­vitriol is to make most of us have a greater appreciation of our own families. 

How awful it must be to feel that a member is as angry with you as he appears to be.

Of course there are moments when we loathe another member of our clan, and times when we like to have a good moan about each other. 

There’s rarely a moment when every relationship in the unit is entirely tranquil, and, yes, there can be fights.

And while I don’t remember any of us throwing another member into the dog bowl – as Harry bleats his brother did to him – I do recall throwing a hairbrush at my younger sister and attempting to ignore her pesky presence. Hardly the stuff of a memoir, though.

One of the positive outcomes of Prince Harry’s spew of ­vitriol is to make most of us have a greater appreciation of our own families

Families are curious and intriguing entities. Whereas the family unit first emerged for practical, economic reasons, to enable one generation to feed and house the next until it was of an age to do the same for the next, we are primarily also connected by emotions like love and affection. 

So, when that emotional ­wiring goes askew, the whole idea of family is challenged.

Affection is far harder to pin down and quantify than money, but it’s also the more lasting adhesive for a family. 

Inter­estingly, while Harry rails against his family, the other members – his aunts, uncles and cousins – seem to be relatively happy with each ­other’s company and certainly never utter a squeak against another in public.

One prime example of this is the loyalty displayed by ­Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice in their unwavering support for their much-pilloried dad.

Having spent quite a bit of time with my own family over the past few weeks, I feel very sorry for Harry who, after issuing this mudslide of public criticism against his flesh and blood, will likely never experience the kind of pleasure I and so many others take from our nearest and dearest.

There is no one else who can make me laugh so much as my family, and while we might rant about each other from time to time, we know that at its root, none of it matters. 

I can’t imagine any circumstance where one of us would go rogue in the way Harry has. 

Rogue, incidentally, would have been a good title for his book – more exciting than the pathetic, hopeless Spare.

Love is… being able to sleep alone

The idea of sleeping separately to one’s loved one used to be utter heresy, but I fear that I might be on the foothills of the slithery slope

As an erratic sleeper, I used to think it was my companion who prevented me from sleeping properly. But recently, we had

to use separate rooms so he could recuperate from surgery and I discovered that he had nothing to do with my wakefulness; my bad sleep pattern was all my own doing.

The other discovery was that there is a lot to say for separate bedrooms. It might not be nicer having to sleep alone, but it’s much more pleasant being awake at night solo. 

As we get older, most of us have pretty disturbed sleep and it’s heaven to just turn on the light and read a magazine and listen to the radio without worrying about waking the other.

It turns out that I am far from alone, and countless couples are finding one or other of them leaving the bed at some point and ending up in a now-empty child’s bedroom or on a sofa to escape snoring, heat or simply to avoid ­disturbing the other.

The big hurdle is accepting this state of affairs and making the decision that it’s not unloving nor unsexy, for one or the other to ­toddle off at a certain point to an equally comfortable bed of their own. 

Sex and sleep are very dif­ferent things. We should take a tip from the great houses of yes­teryear and reinstate the idea of the gentleman’s dressing room, the place where he could retire at a certain point to lounge in solitary splendour, leaving his wife the ­spacious marital bed.

A popular resolution of the moment seems to be to stop buying new clothes. It reminds me of when I was driven back to work after lunch some years back, in the chauffeured car of a well-known philanderer.

As we drove through Mayfair, he told me that his driver, sitting at the wheel, was frequently the recipient of his boss’s old suits which fitted him perfectly. 

The driver waited for a moment before speaking out. ‘But not sir, your shoes. Your feet are too small.’ 

I giggled inwardly at this cleverly pointed jibe at the size of his employer’s manhood.

Can anyone cure my chronic slobbinitis?

My New Year resolutions are never kept, so although this isn’t a resolution, I am having a stab at self-improvement by aiming to become tidy. 

It’s not that I enjoy mess – not in the slightest – but I find myself unable to do some of the basic things in life without ­creating it.

Why, for instance, do I never think to shut a cupboard door or close a drawer anywhere in the house? Why, when I see them in this state, do I fail to connect with the thought that they would look better closed?

For years I thought I just didn’t have the time to be tidy. I was always rushing from one thing to the next, juggling office life and childcare. 

But it’s hard to justify my slovenliness now that I work from home and there are no children here.

It’s not that I wish to achieve ­anywhere near ruthless Marie Kondo-style order. But the mess I leave around is not of choice. It’s more like a chronic condition.

Does anyone have a name for it, other than simply being a slob?

A jaunty jumpsuit that just won’t fly

Only a man could imagine that a jaunty jumpsuit is in any way a practical uniform for a BA air ­hostess. 

The streamlined silhouette designed by Ozwald Boateng may look chic, but oh the horror of the time-consuming wrestling involved in getting in and out of one to go to the loo. Quite mad.

The streamlined silhouette designed by Ozwald Boateng may look chic, but oh the horror of the time-consuming wrestling involved in getting in and out of one to go to the loo. Quite mad.

Please let there be light for a tad longer

Do fairy lights count as Christmas decorations? 

It’s bad luck to keep decorations up past Twelfth Night, January 6, so out has gone the tree, the wreath, the baubles etc but I’m hoping the fairy lights twinkling in the garden can be granted a stay of execution for at least a few more weeks.

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