Harry and Meghan, a poster-couple for workshy Britain

Duke and Duchess of Sussex
Duke and Duchess of Sussex

We all know that productivity has gone down since the pandemic. For some, the lockdown-induced work-from-home ethos has resulted in scaled down hours or even early retirement. So much so that the rise in so-called “economic inactivity” is now deemed to be one of the chief problems facing the country.

But who knew that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would have what it takes to become a poster-couple for workshy Britain, even after they left the UK to become “financially independent” in the United States?

The revelation that they last year carried out just one hour’s work a week for the Archewell Foundation, their non-profit organisation, has naturally been seized upon by the sort of people who revelled in that South Park episode.

To be fair to the Duke and Duchess, it is standard practice for directors in the US to list their hours, as they have done on these newly released tax records.

Moreover, we can hardly say that they haven’t been busy since they stepped back as working royals – what with their Oprah Winfrey interview, their six-part Netflix documentary and Prince Harry’s autobiography, Spare.

Indeed, the Duke has also been occupied at the High Court this week, bravely setting aside his security concerns to join a group of well-known faces in suing Associated Newspapers Limited, the publisher of the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday, for allegedly stealing their private information, which the newspaper group denies.

Clearly, the amount of hard graft that is necessary, supposedly to protect one’s privacy, should not be underestimated.

In Harry and Meghan’s case, it has involved the traducing of a great many people to generate the requisite number of headlines to show just how intrusive the press can apparently be. We must never forgive the sacrifices they have made in the name of global royal reporting.

The Archewell Foundation’s website boasts: “We meet the moment by showing up, taking action, and using our unparalleled spotlight to uplift and unite communities, both local and global, online and offline.”

Yet what we have actually seen from the Sussexes is an uplifting and uniting of their own community of two – online and offline.

To be a royal is to be duty-bound in pursuit of the service of others, but Harry and Meghan’s approach has been rather more self-serving than that.

For when it comes to self promotion, no one can doubt that the couple have put the hours in.