Sam Knight in The New Yorker:
The Queen is the only royal who actually matters or does anything. That’s not fair, of course, but the monarchy is unfairness personified and glorified, long to reign over us. Naturally, the rest of the Royal Family—the heirs; the spares; Princess Michael of Kent, whose father was in the S.S. and whom Diana nicknamed the Führer; Princess Anne, Charles’s younger sister, who’s known to feed the chickens in a ballgown and Wellington boots after a night at the palace—are all busy. They have numberless engagements and causes, which fill their identical, repeating years, but they exist only as heralds for the magical authority of the Crown, which resides in the Queen and nobody else. “They are high-born scaffolding,” as Tina Brown, a former editor of The New Yorker, writes in “The Palace Papers,” her latest chronicle of the unhappy House of Windsor. The Queen decides. She elevates. She exiles. The rest of them sweat: about their annual allowance; their ridiculously discounted rents on apartments in Kensington Palace; the granting of a weekend cottage on the grounds of Sandringham; their access to the balcony of Buckingham Palace for big photo ops; their entry to the Knights of the Garter, a reward for not fucking things up too badly; their Instagram followers; today’s ghastliness in the MailOnline.