OK, wee quick quiz. Are you well acquainted with Baron Renfrew, the Earl of Carrick or the Duke of Rothesay? Just possibly not, since they are all Prince Charles, Prince of Wales.

Just part of the charade indulged in when any of the royals cross the border into ­Scotland. Whereupon some royal ­correspondent will loyally intone “as they are known when they are in Scotland”.

Which of course, they aren’t. When ­Harry was still on this side of the pond, ­nobody thought of him as the Earl of ­Dumbarton, or brother Bill as the Earl of Strathearn when he did a recent stint as the Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

It’s just a piece of flummery dreamt up to please the natives most of whom well know it’s really the Duke of Cambridge moonlighting as Strathearn. There’s no shortage of these daft titles rattling around in the regal version of the lobby press, since their original holders and heirs are well deid. Or committed the mortal sin of being born ­female.

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I cannot vouch for whether there were similar titular baubles bestowed on Her Maj, William and Kate when they were used as the most upmarket of props at the G7 dinner in the Eden Project in the people’s republic of Cornwall. But they do have Irish monikers when they are in the bit of Ireland now involuntarily semi-detached from the UK post Brexit.

For in the six counties there dwells the most loyal of loyalists, probably still suffering PTSD from watching their Queen strut her stuff in Dublin the other year in a very fetching bright green ensemble.

It really is long past time we had a grown up conversation about this Hanoverian hangover from another age when deference was de rigeur and the peasants never got round to being revolting.

I mean think about it. The Queen is a much revered monarch, but terminology like Your Majesty sounds plain weird in a 21st century context. And Your Royal ­Highness? What’s a highness and why is it higher than all the rest of God’s ­chillum? Plus aren’t Lord High Commissioners straight out of Gilbert and Sullivan?

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Now before the Lord Lyon King at Arms (really?) sends the boys round, I should make it clear this is not personal animus. William and Kate seem the epitome of ­committed upper middle class parenthood, like sporty stuff, and dad takes his eldest boy to the footy. It’s not their fault that they spend half their days shaking hands with complete strangers, having women clumsily curtseying instead of saying hi, and fielding half a florist’s shop.

Now that Harry has come over all ­Californian and baring his soul to Oprah and doubtless the odd therapist – since therapy is all but compulsory in that state – we have been given a glimpse into what a bad bargain this royal malarkey can be for the cast as well as the audience.

According to the Earl of Dumbarton, the Duke of Rothesay was only guilty of bringing up his sons the way his dad reared him: long on duty and deficient in the cuddle department. Lots of formality, not enough fun.

There’s a famous snap of Charles ­meeting his mum and dad after they had returned from a royal tour lasting several months. He is shaking his mum’s hand. Compare and contrast Diana running to her lads arms outstretched. No prizes for guessing to which parenting role model Harry aspires.

SOME of the press, with whom the ­royals have had a Faustian pact only just beginning to unravel, really went to town on the sassy yankee who had the gall to leapfrog the queue of English roses and make off with their Prince. There are a couple of Daily Mail front pages which sum up the desperate hypocrisy of it all.

One features Meghan putting her hand on her baby bump with an irritated ­caption writer asking why she can’t leave it alone. The other has the saintly Kate doing likewise, but merely ­demonstrating what a role model she will be for ­motherhood.

They’re still at it, running stories about Meghan’s alleged bullying and losing no opportunity to characterise the ­Sussex’s every move as a calculated insult to g­ranny. Enough already. The royals are like many contemporary families with sibling rivalries, and a dodgy uncle who has to be kept hidden.

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It wasn’t any of the scandal hungry ­tabloids, but Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis (fine woman) who cleverly peeled back the veneer and gave us the sharpest ­insight into Prince Andrew’s somewhat alternative version of a reality which ­included his staying with, and enjoying the hospitality of, a convicted paedophile.

Meanwhile the tabloids and glossies continue an unhealthy obsession with everything from royal wardrobes to royal weans, ensuring that the next generation will find itself locked into the same ­deadly embrace with that portion of my trade whose paid employment is apparently to chronicle every jolly jot and tedious tittle of the royal days.

You might suggest just possibly it doesn’t make a lot of sense for the ­nation to maintain a nap hand of castles and palaces in case the Windsors fancy a wee break in one of their other residencies. And in fact it has been mooted that the Cambridge-Strathearns might like to spend more time in Balmoral to help ­cement the “precious” Union. Bit of ­huntin’ shootin’ and fishin’ – that’ll get the lieges back in line for sure.

Yet they too are victims of the roles we project upon them. Three different ­editors, all with the same perverted sense of humour, dispatched me to cover three sets of royal nuptials.

In London the night before the Charles and Di one, the pavements were paved not with gold, but with loyal subjects camping out in the hope of catching a 10-second glimpse of a gilded carriage through the four deep crowds at the barriers the next morning.

I am genuinely baffled by this kind of voyeurism.

Should we win a World Cup – or even a Euros – I could just about envisage ­camping out to cheer the open topped team bus. Thus far, the sleeping bag has not been troubled.

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Yet I remember too clearing out the house of my late mother in law in which there was the ubiquitous display cabinet stiff with mugs and plates commemorating every royal from Edward the seventh on. Is it a generational thing? Is the same solitary demographic who still set their face against independence, the remaining cohort still in thrall to royal ongauns?

THE last state opening of the Westminster parliament was, we were told, a stripped down affair. Which meant the speech was delivered by a Queen not in full evening fig. But the assorted palace flunkies missed the memo and turned up in fancy dress as usual. The commentator paused reverentially from time to time as we were afforded a shot of bits and bobs of royal accessories being ushered into their own cars.

You see, said the royal watchers. This is what we’d miss. We do pageantry so well. It’s such a tourist attraction. And if they mean would I swap all the flummery for a parade of tanks and heavy artillery marching past a viewing platform with El Presidente atop, then of course not.

Thing is, it’s not a binary choice. We can have pageantry without weaponry or royalty. The nations of the UK are awash with colourful traditions. The head of state role, I concede, is more of a conundrum. Lovely if you can arrange a Mary Robinson, more challenging if the gig goes to a Theresa May.

Yet surely we can manage a ­solution which outlaws bowing and scraping in ­favour of respect for the role rather than slavish, uncritical devotion to the holder of it?