Harry as Governor General is no laughing matter
ON the other side of the world, in one of Buckingham Palace's 775 rooms, someone had been getting into the Queen's dry gin martinis.
They must have been so used to come up with the patronising notion that Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, should be parachuted in as the Governor-General of Australia.
The idea was to get Prince Harry and Meghan Markle away, far away, from Prince William and Kate Middleton. The couples have reportedly been quibbling, presumably because Harry constantly ignores Willy's Post-Its in the fridge and scoffs his milk.
"There have been various ideas floated for them to take on a job abroad, such as governor-general of Australia or Canada, wherever," the Sunday Times reported.
Did our republican fervour die out along with Malcolm Turnbull's prime ministership?
How is it possible for royal insiders to think it's still OK to banish the bad boys to the colonies?
Maybe they got the idea from Harry's Dad. Charles was after the gig in the '90s, but then-prime minister Bob Hawke knocked him back, saying Australia didn't want a royal "double dose". (Charlie might have had better luck under Tony "Knighthood" Abbott.)
Liberal MP Julian Leeser said last year the possibility of William or Harry becoming GG should be left open.
A decade before that, a royal adviser told The Australian the Princes would seriously consider any such offer.
Nothing against Harry, the roguish ranga, but Australia is not a backwater where you can park your pesky prince. Anyway, the fun, rogue bit seems to have evaporated and he's now more likely to down a green juice than drink champagne out of a prosthetic leg.
Along with Meghan, he's ditched the joints for chia seeds and swapped his Nazi costume for yoga pants.
But this new purer-than-thou princely couple (and their imminent vegan baby) can find another perk-filled perch.
The polls show we republicans are a shrinking group. Australia has been seduced by the glamorous young royals with their fabulous weddings and high-street frocks and adorable babies. More Australians are prepared to cop Lizzy as our leader (or Charles once she's gone) now that there are gorgeous young ones running around the globe.
Of course, it may be the endless reports of the bitching behind the scenes, Will v Harry; Meghan v Kate. Perhaps all we really want is a mash-up of Downton Abbey and Married At First Sight.
Whatever it is, the latest Newspoll showed a 10-point drop in support for a republic.
Just four in 10 Australians are now keen on independence; down from about half in a poll taken just before Harry and Meghan came here for a tour.
Australia is a constitutional monarchy. That means our parliament consists of the Senate, the House of Representatives - and the Queen. Queen Elizabeth II, a Brit, delegates her role as the Queen of Australia to a Governor-General.
GGs do a bunch of ceremonial stuff, upholding traditions such as opening a new federal parliament. But they're not puppets of the parliament, or mere figureheads.
The GG has to give royal assent - the tick of approval - to new laws. The GG is also the Commander-in-Chief of the Australian Defence Force. Though he (usually he) follows what he is told to do, the GG could wreak some havoc if he wanted. The GG can appoint a new PM after a hung parliament.
They could refuse to dissolve the House of Representatives for an election, or a double dissolution. A GG Harry, a Pom, could veto legislation.
They hardly ever use the full extent of their powers, but that doesn't mean they don't have them.
Constitutional law professor Anne Twomey, from the University of Sydney, said the extent of the GG's powers are disputed.
They're exercised rarely and only in unusual situations. But, she warns, governments are less stable now because people are turning off the major parties and making hung parliaments more likely - a situation where the GG might intervene.
The possibility arose recently that the Federal Government could ask the GG to veto the Medivac Bill that passed parliament with amendments they didn't want.
NSW Governor and former army chief David Hurley has been announced as the next Governor-general, a five-year term.
The chances of that being overturned are slim to none. So we probably won't get Harry and Meghan to Canberra, and they may instead be sent to Africa.
Apparently the idea was originally mooted, then swiftly booted because this little stunt would see Harry and Meghan set up as the King and Queen of Australia.
The 24-hour media cycle would ensure that even Down Under would not be far enough away.
But the incident is a searing reminder that we don't have an Australian head of state, that a foreigner can be our Governor-General, and that the position is not without power.
And that inside Buckingham Palace, it might not take a right royal night on the gins for someone to think we are still a penal colony.