BECAUSE some editors are known to have a somewhat alternative sense of humour, I have been dispatched to cover an array of royal nuptials in my time.

And, since my mother taught me never to be late for someone else’s party, I normally travelled to London the day before. The streets were not paved with gold, but with swarms of people camping out overnight lest they missed a four-second glimpse of a state carriage.

Many of them sported an array of ­royal tribute merchandise, as the ­commercial chaps are never slow to cash in on such ­opportunities. It is alleged that Diana, ­subject to the customary pre-nuptial ­anxieties of the betrothed, was advised that backing out was unthinkable. The tea ­towels and commemorative coins were ­already in circulation.

As we know, the first marriages of two of the Queen’s sons and her daughter did not survive. One of her sons is facing a court case for alleged sexual misconduct. One of her grandsons has emigrated.

In common with much of today’s ­society they might be deemed a somewhat ­dysfunctional dynasty, although it has to be said that fortunately there are not many Andrews to the pound in the population at large.

It’s worth recalling some of this, ­nevertheless, as bits of the nation prepare to drape themselves in red, white and blue, and indulge in an orgy of jubilee mania.

Seventy years of public service, they ­intone, what a marvellous example! Any criticism of Her Majesty is greeted with the same outraged gasp such some religious fundamentalists might utter were their god subject to adverse comment.

I would merely observe that getting to the venerable age of 95 is a rather less ­arduous business when you have a sound ­constitution and the best health care that money can buy.

Howandsoever, the fact that the Queen is not immune to the vagaries of her ­advanced years, meant that she sensibly spent much of the pandemic shielding in Windsor ­Castle, formerly her 1000 room weekend retreat.

Much of it can toured by the ticketed ­public the income from which, explains the official guide, helps to finance the care of the priceless Royal Collection.

Earlier this month, it was announced that Her Majesty would now make Windsor her permanent home from whence she could be ferried to London as and when engagements dictated.

Which might make you idly wonder about the future of the rather more bijou 775 room Buckingham Palace, housed in the largest private garden in London.

In fact scattered around these isles is a quite extraordinary number of royal ­residences, since it is apparently ­essential for the more senior royals to have ­access to a handful of palaces, castles, and ­stately piles simultaneously.

Prince Charles for instance, has ­Clarence House in central London, his grandmother’s 53,000 acre estate in ­Royal Deeside, Highgrove, his country home, and a home in Carmarthenshire in Welsh Wales, also owned by the Duchy.

Among his mum’s other country ­retreats is the 20,000 acre Sandringham estate, a favourite base for regal ­Christmas knees ups. Here in Scotland we have the 50,000 acre Balmoral Estate, uniquely exempt from much legislation.

That is a wheen of acreage for one ­family. It is argued of course that the maintenance of such sonsie chunks of land provide employment to many ­people. Indeed they do. And still would without the occasional blue-blooded resident.

It’s the same argument as is often ­advanced about pageantry – how tourists love it all. And how they still will, since the guard will continue to change, and the carriages be wheeled out as and when. We don’t need a hereditary monarchy to do celebrations – France stages quite a party on Bastille Day. As does America on July 4.

One of the real estate habits of the ­current royal family is to style as a ­cottage what the rest of us might consider a ­mansion. Witness Frogmore Cottage on the Windsor Estate currently occupied by Princess Eugenie and her husband. Or the Royal Lodge there where Andrew bides.

And there are sundry urban residences which assorted Royals use as a London base, like Kensington Palace with the Ivy “cottage” also used by Eugenie. And many other lodges, cottages, holiday homes and “grace and favour” residences.

This is what privilege looks like, when written very large. It is also the starting point for a pyramid of privilege which embraces other massive landowners some of whose history suggests their holdings were acquired by less than honourable means.

Somewhere along the line, the ­population at large were sold the ­fiction that Lord this and Lady that must be ­intrinsically superior to anyone loosely ­related to Jock Tamson. It is a ­corrosive ­fiction which is maintained by the ­nonsense of having a house of peers where every newly “enobled” entrant is invited to construct a title and, should they wish, their own coat of arms.

All of these artifices induce in the ­incumbents a sense of being special. A cut above the throng. A unique fount of knowledge.

This is, to use an entirely technical term, nothing short of self serving ­cobblers.

You would be amazed how many ­otherwise sensible people still fall for this imposed social stratification. And you might be properly appalled to learn that we still have 92 hereditaries in the House of Lords including a quartet of Dukes, two dozen plus earls, and 40 plus Barons. In 2022!

And they get to elect themselves whenever one is graceless enough to tumble from their perch. Quite often by the world’s tiniest electorate. Bizarrely there are a couple of Labour hereditaries in the mix, not to mention more than a couple of dozen crossbenchers.

THIS is all a palpable nonsense, and it starts with the truly offensive notion of being labelled anyone’s subject. No person with an ounce of self respect should embrace this label – a kind of contemporary serf expected to bow or curtsey in the presence of another human being with another raft of skeletons in the family cupboard.

You will scour the planet and you will fail to find an example of any ­former ­monarchy which pines for its lost ­servitude. Just as you may search at will for any country or island, large or small, which wishes it had not fought to become an independent entity.

We have to rid ourselves of this ­corrosive class based mindset, and that goes for our politicians too, some of whom are no strangers to obsequiousness.

We have to set our face against an ­honours system which has the word ­Empire emblazoned on the ­accompanying medal. In short we have to believe that we must grow up as a Scottish nation to ­recognise merit and worth rather than birth and lineage.

Rabbie Burns put it best in A Man’s A Man For A’ That which hanselled our new parliament and whose sentiments should inform our pathway to self ­determination.

“Ye see thon birkie ca’d a lord, what struts and stares at a’ that, tho hundreds worship at his word, he’s but a coof for a’ that … the man o’ independent mind, he looks and laughs at a’ that”.

We will not become a new nation, for we have long enjoyed that status. But the creation of a new state is an opportunity to look long and hard at what’s aye been, and decide what nourishes our sense of self worth.

There will be those who wish to cling to a system which puts the royals at the top of the social totem pole, and their views can be sought with everyone else’s when what I hope will be an equitably worded written constitution is put out to ­consultation.

Me? I’m with Rabbie. “The rank is but the guinea stamp, the man’s the gowd for a’ that.”